Hurling – History

Hurling – Clonakilty G.A.A. History

Hurling, a game nearly as old as time itself, was popular in all areas for centuries but the rules and style varied from place to place. Sometimes the parish-to-parish game was played especially in winter when fields were bare. In summer the game was confined to a field when a picked number represented each parish. The game lasted until one side scored a goal which could be anything from ten minutes to all day. There can be little doubt that this type of hurling was prevalent in the Clonakilty area because it was still being played here after the famine when it had vanished in many other areas. It was also the custom for landlords to keep hurling teams on their estates to play against other estates. Large sums of money were bet on these games.
In 1858 local historian John Windele on one of his journeys met a huge crowd returning from ” a great goal” which had just been played in Ballinascarthy. The “negotiations for this important event had been going on for the preceding month”. Involved were the townlands of Clogagh and Desert with “sixteen chosen men at each side. The game occupied but fifteen minutes with victory going to the men of Clogagh”.
The great sportswriter P.D. Mehigan of Ardfield (“Carbery”) said that many parish-to-parish matches were held in the Clonakilty area before the arrival of the G.A.A. He, himself, as a child watched some of them but “The Rules”, as the G.A.A. was first called, ended the old form of “fence to fence”.

The first hurling championship match played by the club, senior, was in 1905 against Skibbereen in Ross, on 14th May.
The first hurling title won was the West Cork Middle Grade hurling final in 1912, against Collegians of Cork in Skibbereen.
Clon’s first dual All-Ireland medal winner was Tadhgo Crowley, minor hurling in 1939 and senior football in 1945.
The minor competitions were introduced in the S.W. Division in 1938 and Clon became the first champions in both hurling and football.

Extract from Clonakilty G.A.A. 1887 – 1987 Publication by Tom Lyons