FOSF 9th May 2011
Friends of Sligo Football

Congratulations to Sligo GAA, who progressed the Centre of Excellence with the turning of the
sod recently by the GAA President Christy Cooney before a large gathering in Scarden recently.
It was a great privilege to be there among the guests on that historic occasion and no doubt the
people, who advanced this project this far will proceed with haste towards its development so Sligo
players can enjoy the best of facilities in their preparation for honours. People like John Murphy,
Michael Leonard .John Clifford, HughCawley, Peter Greene, Tommy Kilcoyne , Seamus Cronin, Philip
Niland and others, who have worked over the years towards this despite a number of set backs
can be proud of what is achieved to date. This looks like a very suitable site and may we see its
development progress swiftly and the results follow. To progress this is going to require fund raising
to augment money promised by Croke Park and hopefully Sligo people at home and abroad won’t be
found wanting.

A few years ago we in FOSF were involved in a joint project to draw up a development plan for Sligo
GAA and that was one of the key objectives as it was cited as such by the Former Chairman, John
Murphy at the outset.

Well done to Bunnannaden on the opening of their new community centre a fine
testament to the work of a spirited community. Their opening on Easter Monday was
blessed with sunshine and a good competitive match between Sligo and Monaghan.
Despite conceding 3 goals in the game Sligo gave a good account of themselves and it
was encouraging to see Noel McGuire back in Sligo colours and Brendan Egan starting a
game again for Sligo. We hope other injured players like David Kelly and Johnny Davey
will be back before too long.

We extend sympathy to the family of Joe Cawley Tubbercurry, who died recently. Joe
was to the fore in the GAA and Community and Political activities in the area for over
40 years. He was involved in the early days of hurling in Sligo as a player and later as

Best of luck to Sligo seniors as they commence their Connaught Championship
aspirations on Sunday 22nd June against Leitrim. Some feel this year we have got the
easy side of the draw unlike last year but we know from last year such a view could be
cruelly dispelled.

Congratulations to the Sligo Junior team on their victory over Galway and we hope for a
repeat of last year.

Last updated 09/05/2011 @ 11:39

FOSF 21st April 2010
Friends of Sligo Football

Commiserations to our Senior footballers, who lost out by a point to Kildare in the final league game recently and consigned us to Division 3 next year. How many more one point defeats in crucial games must we suffer? This was as bitter as any of the others particularly with the result in Navan.
The lads pulled Kildare back from a poor start to play some great football and to lose in the last kick of the game was heart break.

We extend sympathy to the family of Paddy Kennedy, who died recently. Paddy and his family were immersed in GAA and the community generally in Aclare and Toulestrane for many years. He was a great community man and a very interesting man to meet out or at a match as he was a great raconteur. Of course his sons Richard and Fintan were fine footballers, who represented Tourlestrane and Sligo with distinction. Richard was involved in the embryonic days of FOSF in Dublin and his daughters Mari and Linda were supporters of FOSF over the years.

We also extend sympathy to the family of Hugh McHugh, who died recently Hugh was a progressive farmer and very involved in the IFA locally. His son Padraic is a leading light in Coolaney Mullinabreena GAA

We wish David Kelly, Johnny Davey and Colm McGee and other GAA personnel out injured at the moment a speed recovery and we look forward to seeing them back on the playing field before too long.


Last updated 21/04/2011 @ 11:27

FOSF 24th Jan 2011
Friends of Sligo Football

The last few weeks the GAA family was joined in grief at the tragic death of Michaela McAreavey. The death of such a beautiful, young lady, who had so much to offer as a wife, daughter and promoter of our National games and one who possessed all the attributes any parent would be proud of has shocked and numbed the whole nation and seldom has there been such an outpouring of sadness and sympathy to both the Hartes and McAreaveys. The way the 2 families and friends carried themselves with such dignity was a great example to all and made one proud to be associated with the GAA.
Tyrone and Mickey Harte in particular have had more than their share of tragedies over the last 12 years and we hope the prayers and support of the whole country can be of some comfort to the families during the dark days ahead. Friends of Sligo Football extend sincere sympathy to the 2 families on this sad loss.

We wish best of luck to James Kearins on his appointment as Sligo Minor Manager. Friends of Sligo Football paid tribute to James last year on his retirement outlining his many achievements and we looked forward to seeing him back in management with a Sligo team so we welcome this appointment as James comes with a good pedigree as player and manager and it is time we enjoyed success at this level.

WE extend sympathy to the family of Aidan Richardson, who died recently after a long illness. Aidan was one of the greatest Sligo under age /college footballers of all time. His ability to use his height to win possession was legendary and he used this to good effect playing for Tourlestrane, Benada Abbey and Sligo under age teams. He was of course the
last minor captain to win a Connaught minor title and was desperately unlucky to miss out on winning an All Ireland minor title in September 1968 following a brilliant come back in the second half. Notwithstanding the bitter disappointment of missing out on that elusive All Ireland medal Aidan and Gerry Hegarty carried off the Cork minor captain- a
gesture probably never witnessed before or since on All Ireland day in Croke Park. Aidan was not just a great footballer he was a great athlete particularly as a high jumper and one wonders whether, with more practice in that area and proper coaching, if he would not achieve greater success in that field. I was privileged to have been in school with him, albeit a few years younger than him, and he was the man to look up to in every sense. He is now laid to rest in Rhue Cemetary a few hundred yards from his family home and joins his father, Shane who died only a few months ago and who was broken
hearted by Aidan’s lengthy illness. He also joins his neighbour Martin Brennan, who died suddenly before Christmas. Aidan and Martin’s brother Mattie were 2 top class under age players for Tourlestrane in the 60s. We remember the tough time Tourlestrane has suffered as a club in the last few months after the sudden deaths of Darren Gaughan and Martin Brennan.

We extend sympathy to the family of Kathleen Henry , who died suddenly recently. Kathleen and her family were immersed in GAA and sport generally in Tubbercurry for many years. She was of course an aunt of Sligo players Paul and Tony Taylor and Ken Killeen and her own sons Alan and Gary were find footballers.

We also extend sympathy to the family of Mary Gannon, Sandyhill Charlestown, who died recently – another good GAA and community family.

We wish Noel McGuire a speed recovery following his recent injury. Noel has been a great servant to Sligo senior football for 14 years and of course he was the inspirational captain when Sligo last won the Nestor Cup in 2007 and proved an excellent ambassador at the time.

Congratulations to St. Farnan’s GAA Club, who won two Connaught titles from in Scór na Nóg Finals.

Much has been written recently about the close season in the GAA and burnout and I would endorse many of the comments late last year in an excellent article by Tommy Brehony, who as usual talked common sense. It appears to me that the biggest burn out issue is at under age/ college level and in particular secondary school level. How often do we see 16 year old boys playing under 16 , minor perhaps u 21 and even senior level with football and Hurling teams. While this may be necessary in small rural clubs it is incredible when we see this happening in large clubs where an under 16 player is
preferred to an under 18 player for the minor team. The problem is often compounded by respective managers insisting on the same player being “put through their paces” when training is not necessary at all. Worse still some of these athletes are representing their school/ college in other sports such as Soccer, basketball rugby etc. The real solution seems to be to insist on managers working in cooperation not in conflict and considering the players welfare. Equally it seems ridiculous to prevent senior county players being prevented from training in December and then they are expected to turn out in competitive matches in January. Surely this is dangerous for the players and could contribute to injuries.


Last updated 24/01/2011 @ 21:02

FOSF 23rd Dec 2010
Friends of Sligo Football

Congratulations to Cyril Feehily on his election as Chairman of the Sligo County Executive and Richard
Brennan, new Vice chairman and the other officers elected at the recent convention. Firstly we applaud
these people, who take on these onerous responsibilities on a voluntary basis and give freely of their
time. It is a big sacrifice for them and their families and we appreciate their efforts. Our incoming chairman
takes over at an exciting time. His predecessor, John Murphy, left the county in a good state with a record
number of national titles and the finances in a good state, a fine completed Markievicz Park and a coaching
structure, under the expert guidance of Liam Og Gormley, which is the envy of many counties. The big
challenges facing us now are building on the progress of our county teams, the realisation of underage
provincial and hopefully National success and in particular the completion of the Centre of Excellence.
Great work has already been done on this and bringing the project to a speedy conclusion must be the
ultimate goal.
This week we again extend good wishes to another former Sligo footballer, Christy Murphy who retired from
an Garda Siochana. Christy had a lifetime immersed in the GA as a club and County player and later as a
dedicated club and County supporter, which no doubt will continue. He played with his brother, Barnes and
in recent years his own sons have represented Sligo with James winning an All Ireland medal with Sligo
Juniors in Galway this year. Christy played 8 championship games with Sligo (pre back door era) with his
first game against Roscommon on 19 June 1977 and his last against Leitrim 11th June 1984 and he also
played many League matches
We extend sincere sympathy to the family of the late Frank Kelly and to Castleconnor GAA club. He

was a great GAA man as a player, manager, Administrator and generally the man to get things done
in the community.

We take this opportunity to remember the many friends of Sligo GAA and community people , who died
in the past year and will be severely missed by their families and friends particularly at this time of the
year. We thank the people, who promote our games and culture whether as a player, Manager, mentor,
Administrator or the person, who lines the pitch , “mans” the gate washes the jerseys etc – they all do
important jobs.
We wish to thank all who supported us and in particular Leo Gray and the staff of the Sligo Champion over
the year.
We wish all our supporters and all involved in GAA affairs in Sligo a very Happy Christmas and continued
success in 2011

Last updated 23/12/2010 @ 10:06

FOSF  9th December 2010
Friends of Sligo Football

We were delighted to see David Kelly join Charlie Harrison playing for the 2010 All Stars in the warmth of
Kuala Lumpur recently. Having met David’s mum and Dad negotiating the snow in Tubbercurry while he
was away I felt they would not mind being with him. Hopefully next year David will be one of the first 15 All
Stars as clearly he was very near it this year.
We wish James Kearins all the best as he is about to retire from an Garda Siochana. James has had a very
successful career in the force and has been to the fore on some of the biggest crime scenes in the area.
Of course we remember him best for his GAA involvement at club and county level. He was a member
of the great Sligo team, which won the Connaught title in 1975 with his brother Mickey and Des Kerins
they formed a fearsome full forward line. He made his county championship debut against Galway on 10th
June 1973 and had his final championship game against the same opposition 1st June 1986 playing 19
championship games and several League games before there was a back door system. He scored 4 goals
and 19 points in those 19 games. 3 of the goals were against Roscommon. We could have done with him
this year in Castlebar!!
James won a record number of county championships with St Pats. He and his brothers Mickey, Peadar
and Noel formed an integral part of the St Pats team over that period. After his playing days were over he
turned to management at club and subsequently with Sligo and was very unlucky to lose out to an amazing
score from Roscommon goal keeper in a replay in Sligo.
Unfortunately his management came to a close too early and Sligo football took a downturn until rescued a
few years later by another Sligo man Tommy Brehony. We hope James you will continue your involvement
in football and we wish you well in your retirement.
I have written in the past about the involvement of GAA personnel in the local communities – Community
Associations, golf clubs and Amateur drama groups. Last weekend Cloonacool drama group competed
in the All Ireland One Act Festival final in the Mill Theatre in Dundrum shopping centre having made the
journey despite the atrocious weather and put on a superb show. The team included Pat McCarrick as
producer Denis Ross in the leading role and Tom Towey, John McIntyre, and Martin McIntyre as back up
team all stalwarts of the local GAA , Martin’s, Margaret played the leading lady with Geraldine Lundy and
Ray Walsh the other cast members. They made us all proud of their performance s in the capital. Of course
several other GAA people are involved in Drama and musical in Tubbercurry, Coolera, Gurteen, Benada,
Riverstown and St Farnans to name but a few.
We are delighted that the county board is ready to press ahead with the development of the Centre of
excellence. This is a vey ambitious project but crucial to the progress of Sligo football at all levels. From
the moment John Murphy took over the reins as County Chairman he set this and development of under
age football in Sligo among his main targets and he can feel proud of his efforts on both fronts as he hands
over the baton to his successor. Other people played pivotal roles including John Clifford, Michael Leonard,
Tommy Brehony, Peter Greene our own Hugh Cawley and others. It was a difficult task getting the right
property in the right place and most important at the right price when crazy prices were be asked for just a
few years ago. We look forward to see this project develop and see the fruits of these labours for years to
Congratulations to Stephen Gilmartin on receiving a GAA scholarship from NUIG Galway where he is
studying medicine.
Congratulations to Cumann na mBunscol, Sligeach on their winning a number of awards in particular Niamh
Gallagher, who won PR of the year. As often stated here Cumann na mBunscol do trojan work for the
promotion of the GAA particular among our children and I am sure their awards were well merited.

Last updated 09/12/2010 @ 21:09

FOSF 22nd November 2010
Friends of Sligo Football

We extend our sincere sympathy to the late Martin Brennan’s wife and family, his many friends and to Tourlestrane club on the tragic death of a true gael and gentleman. I vividly recall many battles with Martin at under age level as his speed left me for dead as he took off with his long black hair blowing down his back like George Best. He was an accomplished footballer but during his time in Tubbercury Vocational school he appeared to gain more interest in hurling where he excelled under the tutelage of Michael Seevers and Jarlath McDonagh and with Mick Burke in Tubbercurry. He was
a fine sportsman as a player c oach and later as Administrator and he never was afraid to put his shoulder to the wheel when there was hard work to be done. The fine football pitch Tourlestrane now possess was in no small way thanks to his and many fellow clubmen’s efforts and he was a constant presence on the gate at matches there where he still had time to engage in conversation. He will be a huge loss to his family , club and community.

Next month John Murphy steps down as Sligo’s County Chairman having completed his five year term. He can look back on his time in office with pride and satisfaction from a very successful stint. We in FOSF were involved with John and the County Board from an early stage in his term working on a Development plan for the county, which targeted, among other things, a Provincial Title and a centre of excellence. While the later is not yet there the site is and great progress is being made on this due in no small way to John’s hard work, which sometimes may go unnoticed. 
We all recall the Connaught senior title in 2007 , league titles in 2009 and 2010 and Junior All Ireland title in 2010, Colleges success and hurling title in 2008 and some incredible hard luck and near miss stories. Add in National recognition of players like Charlie Harrison and David Kelly and his tenure can be regarded as a great success because while John would not claim credit for all these things his leadership helped in no small way and we thank him for all his efforts. No doubt Eilish and the girls will be glad to have him back again!!

Last updated 22/11/2010 @ 22:12