History – Minor Club
Name: Killoe Óg
Colours: White & Green
Teams: Minor, Juvenile, U14, U12
While the Killoe Minor Club was formed in 1975, one of the first arenas of competitive football for Killoe underage came about much earlier, with the creation of the School’s League in the early 1930’s. Cullyfad N.S. had tremendous success in those early years reaching three finals, claiming the league in 1934 over Drumlish with James Doogue noted as team captain. Two years later Killoe became the first winners of the new Minor Championship overcoming their Longford town counterparts by 6-4 to 0-6 in the final. The squad included T. Farrell, P. Lennon, T. Masterson, D. Hughes, B. McLoughlin, J. Mitchell, M. Kilmeade, J. Brady, M. Bratton, E. Doherty, J J. Doherty, J J Morgan, H. Hughes, J. Brady, J J. Hagan. There was little activity of note during the 40’s but in 1948 an underage team organised by Tom McManus reached the Minor Championship final. The game against Longford Wanderers was declared void due to uncertainty over the eligibility of certain players and no winner was declared.
Killoe schoolboys went through a series of near misses in the late 1950’s losing finals in 1958, 59 and again in ‘63. A rare appearance in the Juvenile 9-a-side final in 1965 resulted in defeat to Granard. The late sixties eventually brought success with schoolboy titles in 1966 and 1969. More significantly, this group of talented young footballers would go on to provide the backbone to the 1970’s Intermediate teams and the club’s eventual return to senior status.
1970’s – Formation of Minor Club
Two key events in the early 1970’s had a profound effect on the development of underage football. 1971 saw the opening of St Therese’s N.S., the first centralised school in the parish. For the first time young footballers in the parish now played as a unified entity and thus fostered closer ties from an early age, the benefits of which would be seen as the decade progressed. The very same year saw the formation of the first Minor Committee chaired by PJ Bennett. The concept was to provide structure to underage football in the parish and would lay the groundwork for the official formation of the Killoe Minor Club in 1975. Packie Joe Lynch acted as Chairman alongside Tom Mahon, Frank Toher and John Reilly.
It has an almost instant impact on the pitch too as the Juvenile team reached the 9-a-side League final going down to St Vincent’s (Drumlish/Ballinamuck). They Minor team gained revenge over the same foe in 1976 winning the 9-a-side title by 5-7 to 2-7, the parish’s fist success at Minor Level since 1936. The historic team were: Mark Mimnagh, John Toher, Francis Rowley, Eugene Murphy (c), Eugene McNerney, John McCormack, Frank Kennedy, James Devaney, Barney Mahon subs: Brendan Lennon, James McGoldrick. The title would be regained in 1978 again beating St Vincent’s and along with Clonbroney and Shroid, the Killoe Region amalgamation proved too strong for Granard in the championship final by 2-7 to 0-3.
The success of the U-21’s in 1979 was the culmination of the previous years and with the club’s long awaited return to senior status complete by 1979, hopes were high of greater days to follow.
1980’s – Successful Foundations
This period of success continued into the next decade with an incredible treble of victories for the Juveniles – a first Championship title along with both 9-a-side and 13-a-side Leagues. The championship victory over Mostrim was achieved as an amalgamation with Clonbroney and Colmcille. A first U-14 Championship followed in 1981 with this squad going on to win a Juvenile double in 1983 and a Minor double in 1985 – the latter championship success coming against Colmcille after a replay. By the clubs official 10th anniversary, they had amassed 16 underage titles – a golden period for underage football.
Killoe continued to remain one of the top underage club’s during the remainder of the decade with Minor Championship final appearances in 1986 and 1988 and a 9-a-side League victory in 1987. The Juveniles regularly featured in league finals during this period and there was a welcome success for the Schoolboys with a championship title in 1987 after missing out in a number of finals in the preceding years.
1990’s – Mixed Fortunes
In 1990 the Minors (amalgamated with Clonbroney) captured the Minor Championship title staging a terrific second half comeback to beat rivals Drumlish by 2-9 to 2-6. The Juvenile 9-a-side team claimed league honours too beating Carrickedmond. This proved to be a high point in the 90’s as success at underage level diminished with only a handful of league titles at Juveniles level (1995 & 1998) and Minor (1995 & 1999) to show for their efforts. The Minor League in 1995 was perhaps the highlight of these successes with this strong squad making up for the final defeat 12 months previously by beating Dromard after a replay with Ian Browne providing an exhibition of point scoring in very windy conditions at Pearse Park.
The latter part of the decade saw a renaissance at schoolboy level under the guidance of Colm Harte with League titles in 1994, 95, 98 & 99, thereby sowing the seeds of success in the new millennium.
2000’s – Underage Domination
With a solid and successful foundation in place at schoolboy level, Killoe Minor Club was about to undergo their most successful period yet as a series of talented teams swept all before them. In 2000 the minor team (amalgamated with Sean Connolly’s as Camlin Rovers) reached the championship final and retained the Division 2 League. The main success that year was the all-conquering U-14 team who completed the historic treble of league, championship and feile with some emphatic victories along the way. The league and championship would be retained the following year.
Killoe were now regularly involved in the shakeup for honours winning Juvenile Leagues in 2002 and 2005, a Minor League in 2004 and bridging a 15 year gap the following year winning the Minor Championship over neighbours Clonguish by 2-11 to 2-7. Seven members of that squad would go onto win the 2012 Senior Championship.
The latter half of the decade saw an explosion of titles as Killoe emerged alongside Northern Gaels and St Vincent’s as the foremost clubs in the county. The Juvenile team won back to back league and championship titles in 2007 and 2008. The U-14’s would also achieve similar double success in 2008 and 2009. The Minor team reached both league and championship finals in 2008 losing both to Northern Gaels. The following year in 2009 they made amends with a comprehensive 2-14 to 0-11 win over St Vincent’s in the championship final. Man of the match Mark Hughes scored a whopping 10 points while Patrick Thompson bagged both goals.
At inter-county level, Longford Minors won only their fourth Leinster title upsetting the odds against Offaly with 5 Killoe players involved – Ronan Keogh, Darragh Bennett, Padraig McCormack, Mark Hughes and Paddy Thompson.
Beyond 2010 – Success & Optimism
The Juvenile team won back to back championships in 2010 and 2011 and went on to participate in and win the inaugural Leinster U-16 League beating Navan O’Mahony’s 2-15 to 4-4. 2012 to be a landmark year for Killoe underage teams, winning 13 underage titles at every grade from Schoolboys to Minor – the most achieved by any Longford club in one year. The U-14 team won the treble for the second time and went a step further by winning the All-Ireland Feile Division 4 title beating Newtown Blues of Louth 2-3 to 0-6 in the final. Coming just 12 months after the club won the Leinster Juvenile title; this represents a massive leap forward for underage football in the club.
These provincial successes are the culmination of a decade of tremendous work and progress for underage football in the parish as Killoe rose to become one of the leading Minor clubs in the county winning almost 30 league and championship titles since 2000, more than the previous three decades combined.
Perhaps the most telling example of this prominence was Longford’s Leinster U-21 Championship final appearance in 2013 in which no less than eight Killoe players featured during the game with Padraig McCormack captaining the side. The retaining of the U21 Championship in 2014 shows the depth of talent flowing into the senior ranks from the underage structure. With no sign of this success abating, the Killoe Minor club entered its 40th Anniversary year in 2015 with a proud legacy and great optimism for the future. In 2017 the club added another Minor Football Championship title to the long list of successes across the most successful period in the history of the club.
History researched & compiled by John & Colm Devaney