The first record of
camogie in Mullabrack was in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s. Two
local girls Josie Toner and the late Marie McConnell who played for
Ballymacnab, at the time. They decided to try and get a camogie
team started in Mullabrack. They were successful in getting a team
together but unfortunately it only lasted a short period of time.
The next attempt in
1983 was more successful when Brendan O’Hanlon approached the local
priest to call a meeting with the view to starting a camogie team.
The meeting was successful and a committee was formed as follows.
Mary Livingstone; Margaret Livingstone; Joan Reilly; Mary Reilly;
Eithne Rice; Mary Loughran; Teasie McKeown with Ita Crossan joining
the committee a short time later.
Fr McAnulty, the
parish priest donated £100 to help buy equipment. This was
supplemented by the organisation of a number of other activities –
sponsored walks; whist drives; raffles and fashion shows.
Rose Pickering (nee
Devlin), an ex county player from Ballymacnab was the only person
that had any camogie experience. Rose had numerous contact in
camogie circles and enlisted the help of various coaches; Jimmy
Carlisle (Armagh); Aiden Reynolds (Portadown); Brendan Beattie
(Craigavon) and Eddie Grew (Maghery), to name but a few. Noel Quinn
was the last trainer that the club had.
The camogie club had
many successes. In 1984, they won Club of the Year.
In 1987, Mullabrack won the Junior Championship and
the Division 3 League.
they won the Intermediate Championship, post Primary Championship
and Under-12 seven a side.
Intermediate Champions 1988
M Reilly, S Mallon, J Reilly, R Pickering
F Loye, L Gray, B
H Mc Keown, S Mc Geown,
E Crossan, G
K Pickering, M Loughran,
J Loughran, S
In 1989, the camogie club continued their success
by winning the Juvenile League and Championship and the Emma Donnely
tournament in Port Mor. The Juvenile team represented County Armagh
in the Feile na Gael in Laois. They were beaten by County Clare by
one point in the final.
Juvenile Champions 1989
1990 was a lean year as regards winning on the
field of play, but success came again in 1991 when the senior team
won Division Two League. The senior team continued to win the
Intermediate Championship in 1992. Also in this year, the Under-18
team won their championship.
Intermediate Champions 1992
Back Row L-R: N.Quinn,
Trainer, E.Conlon, S.McGivern, K.Pickering, L.McGeown, M.Reilly,
Front Row L-R:
G.Crossan, H.McKeown, K.Boyle, J.Rice(capt), S.Conlon, C.Rice,
A calendar was printed in 1993 to mark a decade
of camogie in Mullabrack and was a huge fundraising success.
In 1994, the senior team won the Division 3
League. But alas, 15 a side camogie was being introduces at county
level and was having an impact on small clubs who didn’t have the
numbers to cope with this change, and Mullabrack was one such
club. The committee struggled to keep camogie going at an underage
level and failed due to lack of interest and commitment. When
camogie was active, many friendships were enjoyed, both on and off
the field. Many good nights of social entertainment were enjoyed
and memories of winning and losing still live on in the memories of
the many girls who were registered with O’Donovan Rossa Camogie club
Many of these girls have also done honours to
Mullabrack through the school they attended. The St Catherine’s
under 14 team who reached the Ulster Final in 1984 had six members
from the Mullabrack club namely Joan Rice; Joanne Loughran; Brenda
Murphy; Helen McKeown; Joanne Loye and Sharon McGeown.
There have also been a number of ex Mullabrack
players on county teams; Sharon McGeown; Geraldine Pickering; Helen
McKeown; Joan Rice; Kerry Boyle and Eilish McGeown.
Joan Rice played on the Co. Armagh team which won
the 1993 National League and All Ireland Junior Championship. Joan
plays her camogie with Crosmaglen and is captain of the county team
who have won the Senior Championship, this year for the first time.
As the numbers of young girls in the primary
school has recently increased perhaps this may be a sign that there
is a future for Camogie in the Mullabrack area.