Mullabrack football club
was formed in 1903 by local school teacher, James Cotter.
Master Cotter, a native of Cork moved to Markethill with his
wife Alice to take up the position of headteacher at the local
In 1906, James Cotter
was elected as chairman of the Armagh County Board. At the
first County Board meeting under his tenure on 3rd
March, a letter was read by Father Montague (CC Loughgilly
Parish) offering a silver cup for a league competition in the
county. This offer had originated from a William McKillop from
Glasgow who was the Nationalist member of Parliament for South
Armagh. The offer was accepted on the proposal of James Cotter
and Owen Fagan. James Cotter, Fr. Montague and Peter McKnight (Keady
Dwyers) were appointed the trustees. In 1906, the McKillop Cup
as it became known, could be won by a team achieving three
outright leagues wins in a row or by winning four games in all.
This regulation was eventually changed in 1931 and the McKillop
Cup was transferred to the county senior football championship,
as it still is to this present day.
James Cotter also acted
as a referee in those days and was in the middle for the 17th
June 1906 first round meeting between Keady Michael Dwyers and
Whitecross. Later that year he was given the task of refereeing
the county senior football championship final in Whitecross on
16th September between Crossmaglen Red Hands and
Camlough Shane OíNeills. The match was won by Crossmaglen with
a finishing scoreline of 1-4 to 0-6, and was the first of many
titles to be won by them, and to be displayed in the shop window
of James Short, a tradition which prevails today.
In 1907, James Cotter
was re-elected as county chairman and was also appointed as an
Ulster council delegate. He was eventually replaced as county
chairman in 1909 by Pat Fardley from Crossmaglen.
James Cotter remained a
native of Markethill until his death on 13th August
1947. He is interned at Mullabrack chapel beside his beloved
wife, who was also a local schoolteacher.