Killoe – Did You Know?

St. Failbhe is the patron saint of the parish of Killoe. His feast day is 31st July.

According to legend, St Patrick passed through Killoe on his way to Magh Sleacht and cursed the soil on Corn Hill (Cairn Hill) after being served a dressed dog to eat in the townland of Aghnamadoo.

The first Gaelic Football Club in Killoe was formed in June 1889 and named Killoe Erins Hope. It was quickly renamed Killoe Erins Pride. Their games were played in a field given by Mrs Jennings.

In 1890 a second club was formed in the parish called Killoe McMahons and both Killoe clubs played in the 1890 Championship. In the years that followed two other teams would emerge… Soran O’Connells and Young Emmets.

By the early 1900’s, there were two active clubs in the parish – Killoe Erins Pride & Killoe Young Emmets. From around 1904/1905 onwards Young Emmets became the single unified club representing Killoe.

Killoe Erins Pride were said to be a plucky team and in their first match gave a very good account of themselves against the Longford Davitts, only beaten by three points to one.

Killoe took part in the inaugural Longford Senior Football Championship in 1890, losing to Drumard O’Briens (now Dromard) in the first round on scoreline of 0-1 to 0-0. Killoe objected (objections were commonplace back in those days) because Drumard had four players from Cavan. They acknowledged that they had four men from Arva but that they were members of the club. Killoe were awarded the game. Columbkille beat Killoe 0-6 to 0-1 in the 2nd Round.

Young Emmets reached their first Senior Football Championship Final in 1904 and eventually won their first Senior Football Championship title in 1907.

Killoe Young Emmets contested the inaugural Longford Senior Hurling Final in 1905, and won their only Senior Hurling Championship title in 1907.

J.J. Heslin who captained the first Killoe Young Emmets team to win the Longford Senior Football Championship in 1907 was a great uncle of Declan Rowley who captained the Killoe team to Championship success in 1988 and won two more Championship titles in 1993 and 1995.

The first Killoe Erins Pride committee was John Farrell (Chairman), M. Keenan from Kiltyreher (Vice chairman), Williams Hughes (Secretary) and W. Jennings (Treasurer) and John Duffy (Captain).

The first Killoe McMahons committee was James McCarthy (Chairman), Andrew Coffey (Secretary), W. Foley (Treasurer) and James Donohoe (Captain).

Mick Heslin (who was a member of  the North Longford Flying Column) is likely to have been the first Killoe person to… (a) win a Leinster Final, (b) play in an All-Ireland Final and (c) play in Croke Park. Mick was on the Longford team that won the 1924 Leinster Junior final and were beaten by Kerry in the All Ireland Junior Final in Croke Park.

Thomas Lefroy of Carrigglas Manor in Killoe was a former Lord Chief Justice of Ireland (1852-1866). He was acquainted with the writer Jane Austen. The Golden Globe Award winning actor James McAvoy played the character of Tom Lefroy in the 2007 film ‘Becoming Jane’.

Three people from Killoe sailed on the Titanic. Katie Mullen and Kate Gilnagh (both from Rhyne) survived, while James Farrell from Clonee perished. All three are featured in the award winning movie ‘A night to remember’ and the Titanic Monument in Ennybegs village is a memorial to the heroic efforts of James Farrell in saving lives on Titanic.

Keogh Drive in Sparks, Nevada is named after Daniel Keogh from Cartron who fought and died with the US forces in Korea.

Devaney Close in Bristol is named after Canon Owen Devaney from Corneddan who served in the Clifton Diocese and as British Army Chaplin in WW2.

Frank Gormley from Esker was elected to Dail Eireann in the first Fianna Fáil government of 1932. He also served as Secretary of Dáil Courts before the Anglo-Irish Treaty and was a member of the North Longford Flying Column along with his brother Mick Gormley and General Sean Mac Eoin.

Mickey Doherty from Esker was elected Senator in Seanad Eireann from 1987 to 1989. Mickey was also special adviser to former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds.

The North Longford Flying Column fought in the War of Independence and was honoured in 2013 as part of the unveiling of a statue to General Sean Mac Eoin in Ballinalee by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The Killoe members of the North Longford Flying Column included Frank Gormley, Mick Gormley, Michael Reynolds, Jim Sheeran and Michael Heslin.

Most of Corn Hill, Longford’s highest peak, is within the parish of Killoe. On a clear day, vantage points in 9 surrounding counties could once be identified from the summit. The RTE mast was erected in 1977 and went live in March 1978 – it is the most powerful transmitter in Ireland!

Thomas Heslin, a native of Dernacross, served for 21 years as Bishop of Natchez, Mississippi.

Grainne Fox from Esker was the first contestant to represent Longford at the Rose of Tralee International festival in 2007.

Nuala McGoey was the first girl to play schoolboys football for Killoe in 1986.

Paddy Hagan (Rhyne) was Chairman of Longford County Board from 1908-12, the only Killoe man to hold this position.

Jimmy Quinn was part of the county minor team that won the 1929 Leinster Championship.

Joe McGuire was part of the county minor team that won the 1938 Leinster Championship.

Dinny Hughes was a member of the Longford team that won the Junior All-Ireland in 1937 beating London 0-9 to 0-4 in Catford, London.

Davy Sheeran was the 1st Killoe footballer to win a Sigerson Cup (UCD in 1953). Michael Quinn became the 2nd Killoe footballer to win a Sigerson Cup (DCU in 2015).

Billy Morgan won a Monaghan championship medal with Ballybay in 1952.  He also won a Leinster Junior Championship with Longford in 1953.

The Sean Connolly Cup (awarded to Longford Senior Football champions) was first presented at the 1960 County Final to champions Killoe.

Three Killoe men have won All-Ireland Colleges medals with St Mel’s – Davy Sheeran and John Igoe in 1948 and Sean Maguire in 1987.

John Toher was awarded Longford Minor player of the year in 1979.

John McCormack was nominated for a GAA Allstar in 1984, 85 and 86 and won a Railway Cup with Leinster in 1988.

Jimmy, Terry, Tommy McCormack; Jimmy O’Neill, Matt Duggan, Davy Sheeran, Jimmy Halpin and Pat Masterson – all won Senior Championship medals with both Killoe and another club.

Mary Bratten captained the Longford Ladies team to their first Leinster final in 1982.

There are 3 published books with Killoe in the title… “Killoe – History of a County Longford Parish” by Canon Owen Devaney, “Cill Eo – Our Faith Story” by Kathleen Morgan and “Killoe” by Louis L’Amour, a US western novel featuring a cowboy named Dan Killoe.

Frank Kennedy (1978), Declan Rowley (1982), Mark Hughes (2010) and Damien Bennett (2012) are all recipients of the Fr. Manning Medal in St Mel’s College.

Three GAA grounds in Longford, Cavan & Fermanagh were opened in mid 1993 sharing the same name – Emmet Park… Killoe, Butlersbridge and Lisnaskea.

Declan Rowley managed St Mel’s to a Leinster title in 1994. He also coached Leitrim seniors from 2001-2004 and was part of the Ireland U-17 International Rules management in 2001. He was appointed manager of St. Lomans (Westmeath) in 2012 and led them to their first county title in 50 years in 2013. Declan became manager of the Killoe Young Emmets senior team in 2015. 

Laura Doherty, Jennifer Hennessy, Carmel Hennessy & Patricia Lynch were part of the All-Ireland Junior C’ship squad in 1997 defeating Tyrone in the final.

John Devaney served as chairman of Queen University GAA between 1996 and 2001 and management team for Sigerson win in 2000. John also served on Ulster Council, Down GAA, Central Council & Central Hearings Committee of GAA.

Aiden Keogh was a member of the Longford squad that won the O’Byrne Cup in 2000 beating Westmeath. It was the county’s first senior silverware since 1968.

Billy Morgan was named on the Longford Team of the Millennium at left full back. Mickey Bracken and John McCormack were also nominated.

Mark Mimnagh, Pat Masterson and the McCormack brothers, Terry Jimmy & Tommy won All-Ireland Masters titles with Longford in 2000 and again in 2005 with Terry at the helm.

Paul O’Hara played in the 2005 Leinster Championship for Longford against Dublin and the 2010 Connaught Championship for New York against Galway.

Sharon Treacy was nominated for an All Star award in 2002, 2005 & 2006, was nominated Intermediate Player of the Year in 2012 and has two college All-Stars with Athlone IT and Waterford IT.

Denis McGoldrick was a member of the Ireland U-17 International rules squad that played Australia down-under in 2006.

Michael Quinn signed for Australian rules side Essendon in 2008 making the fastest debut by a GAA player. In 2010 he was awarded the Carter Medal by Bendingo for his outstanding performances. He was a member of the Irish squad for the International rules series in 2011 & 2015. In 2012 Michael became the 2nd Killoe footballer to be nominated for a GAA All Star award.

Padraig McCormack, Darragh Bennett, Ronan Keogh, Mark Hughes and Patrick Thompson were among the Longford minors who won the Leinster championship against Offaly in 2010.

Sean McCormack won a National League Division 4 title with Longford in 2011 scoring five points and earning the man of the match award. He featured for Leinster in the 2012 Railway Cup campaign and was National League joint top scorer with Bernard Brogan in 2013.

Sean McCormack, Michael Quinn and Padraig McCormack all featured on the Longford team that won the 2012 National League Division 3 title at Croke Park. Sean was once again the man-of-the-match.

Killoe players Mickey Bracken (1986) and Denis McGoldrick (2006) captained the Longford Minor team, while Padraig McCormack captained the Longford U21 team to Leinster Final in 2013.

Bernard Hunt (British golfer) played at the 1969 Ryder Cup and captained Ryder Cup teams in 1973 and 1974 while playing in all 4 majors (finishing 3rd at the British Open). His grandfather was James Hunt who lived in Kilnatruan Killoe. James was a Boer War veteran who settled in Ireland.

Paul Devaney is the first Killoe & Longford person to have completed an Antarctic expedition having successfully scaling its highest mountain (Vinson Massif – 16,077ft) in January 2014 as part of his Seven Summits challenge. Paul has completed 6 of the 7 Summits and was climbing Everest during the two worst disasters in the history of the mountain in April 2014 (Avalanche) and April 2015 (Earthquake and Avalanche).

John Reilly served as Chairman of the Killoe Minor Club for seventeen consecutive years from 1980 to 1996.

The modern Killoe GAA crest was developed in 2012. It features the yew tree in abstract form set in front of a cross. The name of the parish in Irish (Killoe means Church of the Yew tree) is set above the Irish form of the county, An Longfort, with 1889 reflecting the year of establishment of the first GAA club in Killoe.

Killoe GAA website was awarded the 2012 McNamee Award by the GAA for ‘Best Website’. In 2014 the Killoe GAA website was awarded the Leinster GAA ‘Best Website’ award. Killoe is the first club from the midlands and one of the few nationally to have received both awards.

Tom McGuire from Esker was appointed Head of RTE Radio 1 in 2013. Tom was Senior Club Secretary in 1973 & 1974 and his father Seamus held the position of Club Chairman on four occasions in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1980’s.