GAA in County Roscommon
Gaelic Football is a very popular activity in Roscommon. Several clubs have been established in the different communities in the county. The clubs consist of many young people who play against one another on a regular basis. These matches often gather fairly large audiences from the local communities, who add to the enjoyable atmospheres of these events.
However, the more enthralling aspect of the GAA in this county is the official team itself. Roscommon has often enjoyed many exciting victories over rival counties in the past, and still do so to this day. The Senior, Minor, Junior and U-21 teams have managed to achieve their fair share of victories over the last few decades in the Connacht Football Championships. The Senior team have emerged victorious in this championship on twenty occasions, with the most recent Connacht title going to them in 2010. Several amazing accomplishments, and even a few failures, in the All-Ireland games have made Roscommon a very noteworthy football contender. Their history is ripe with some fascinating incidents and events.
Roscommon enjoyed four dominating victories in the All-Ireland Championships in the 1940s, arguably making that decade their best yet. Some superb goals from Frankie Kinlough and Jack McQuillan helped the Senior team achieve two of those victories. However, a crushing defeat in the 1946 final against Kerry brought their pinnacle down. Roscommon also failed to live up to its high standards in subsequent years, with defeats following up in numerous semi-finals over the next decade. To lighten the impact of these losses, Roscommon's Minor team managed to bring down Armagh in the All-Ireland Minor Championship final in 1951, but another victory for Roscommon in the All-Ireland finals would have to wait until 1966.
One of the more interesting occurrences was when the Roscommon Senior team failed to triumph over Kerry in the 1962 All-Ireland final. However, they more than made up for it by defeating Galway in the Connacht finals that same year. Roscommon's goalkeeper, Aidan Brady, accidentally snapped his goal's crossbar during the second half of the match. During the twelve minute gap necessary to replace the damaged bar, Roscommon reorganised their team and moved the renowned Gerry O'Malley to the midfield position. Despite the fact that the game was nearing its conclusion, Roscommon came back by defeating Galway 3-7 to 2-9. It came as a shock to the opposing team, who were initially leading 2-6 to 1-4, which made that day one of the most memorable in Gaelic Football history.
Another notable addition to the county's record was the Senior team's string of victories during the Connacht finals from 1977-80. One of the most notable and significant players on the team at the time was GAA All-Star player, Dermot Early, who would later go on to become the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defence Forces.
The U-21 team also managed to claim victory in the All-Ireland finals in 1978. This short bout of success was abolished following their loss against Kerry in the 1980 finals. The rest of the 80s and 90s were kept in decent light following a series of Connacht championship victories throughout those two decades. A victory in the All-Ireland Junior finals in 2000 also kept Roscommon in a decent position. In terms of accomplishments, Roscommon remained quiet from 2001 until 2005. However, their victory in the 2006 All-Ireland Minor final as well as many subsequent Connacht Championship victories brought Roscommon back into the limelight.
As a whole, the Roscommon GAA has an incredibly interesting history behind it. Couple that with some truly excellent and dedicated players, and you have yourself a superb team. Should you ever get the chance, be sure to check out a Roscommon match. It should prove to be quite a unique experience and you may find yourself rooting for them, regardless of what part of the country you may hail from.
- All-Ireland Football Champions: 1943 and 1944.
- Connacht Football Champions: 1905, 1912, 1914, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1961, 1962, 1972, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1990, 1991, 2001, 2010.
- All-Ireland Football Champions: 1940, 2000.
- Connacht Football Champions: 1929, 1932, 1939, 1940, 1959, 1964, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2008, 2009.
- All-Ireland Football Champions: 1939, 1941, 1951, 2006.
- Connacht Football Champions: 1939, 1941, 1949, 1951, 1965, 1967, 1975, 1981, 1984, 1989, 1992, 2006, 2011, 2012.
- All-Ireland Football Champions: 1966, 1978.
- Connacht Football Champions: 1966, 1969, 1978, 1982, 1999, 2010, 2012.