History – Minor Club

Minor Club

Name: Killoe Óg
Ainm: Cill Eo Óg
Colours: White & Green

Killoe Óg is the Underage section of the Killoe Young Emmets club catering for footballers from U-12 to Minor. The Killoe Minor Club was founded in 1975, but underage competitive football in Killoe has much earlier origins dating back to the creation of the School’s League in Longford in the early 1930’s. Cullyfad N.S. had tremendous success in those early years reaching three finals, claiming the Schools League in 1934 over Drumlish, with James Doogue noted as team captain. Two years later Killoe became the first winners of the Minor Championship overcoming their Longford town counterparts by 6-4 to 0-6 in the 1936 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 underage activity of note during the 1940’s but in 1948 an underage team organised by Tom McManus reached the Minor League 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, 1959 and again in 1963. A rare appearance in the Juvenile 9-a-side final in 1965 resulted in defeat to Granard. The late 1960's 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 of 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 in 1975, going down to St Vincents. This same side gained revenge over the same foe in 1976 winning the 9-a-side league by 5-7 to 2-7, the clubs first success at Minor grade since 1936. This historic team included: 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 Minor league 9-a-side title would be regained in 1978 after beating St Vincents again, and along with Clonbroney and Shroid Slashers, the Killoe Region amalgamation proved too strong for Granard Region (Granard/Ballymore) in winning the Minor Championship title of 1976 by 2-7 to 0-3.

The success of the U-21’s in winning the Championship in 1979 was the culmination of the previous years underage successes, and with the club’s long awaited return to senior status complete by the close of the decade, hopes were high of greater days to follow.

1979 saw the brief return of competitive hurling to Killoe for the first time since the successful Senior team of the 1910's, when Killoe entered a team in the U-14 Hurling Championship alongside teams from Slashers Gaels, Wolfe Tones, Cashel, St. Mels hroid and Rathcline Gaels.

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 Juvenile championship victory over Mostrim in 1980 was achieved as an amalgamation with Clonbroney and Colmcille. A first U-14 (rural) Championship followed in 1981 with this squad going on to win a Juvenile League & Championship double in 1983 (Championship as part of an amalgamation), and a Minor League & Championship double in 1985 (the latter championship success as Killoe Region (Killoe + Shroid Slashers) coming against Colmcille after a replay).

By the time of the Minor Clubs official 10th anniversary, some 16 underage titles had been amassed – a golden period for underage football in Killoe.

Killoe continued to remain a prominent underage club 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.

Killoe's hurling revival continued from 1979 into 1980 and Killoe competed in the Hurling mini-féile competition in Longford in May, with teams from Westmeath, Galway, Tipperary, Kilkenny and Longford. In Round 1 Killoe beat Lough Forbes Gaels by 2-0 to 1-0, but lost to Éire Óg  Clonmore (Tipperary) in the Winners group. Killoe also took part in U-14 Féile na nGael in Longford in 1980, and was drawn against Wolfe Tones at home on 18th May in Round 1. The hurling club did not sustain and was not in active competition by the end of 1980 and would not compete in underage hurling again until 1997.

1990’s – Mixed Fortunes

In 1990 a combination of Killoe and Clonbroney captured the Minor Championship title by staging a terrific second half comeback to beat rivals St. Vincents by 2-9 to 2-6. The Juvenile 9-a-side team claimed League honours beating Carrickedmond in the final. This proved to be a high point in the 1990’s as success at underage level diminished with only a handful of league titles at both Juvenile (1995 & 1998) and Minor (1995 & 1999) level 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 league 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 Schoolboys League titles in 1994, 95, 98 & 99, thereby sowing the seeds of success into the new millennium. There was also a revival of hurling in Killoe in 1997 following an increased focus on hurling coaching in the schools across the county. In August 1997 Killoe hosted an inter-county hurling blitz at Emmet Park involving 16 different hurling teams. Killoe competed in U-10 competition and won the final of the U-10 hurling blitz after beating Longford Slashers, drawing with St. Dominics Roscommon, beating Wolfe Tones and finally defeating Ballymahon in the decider by 3-0 to 0-0. However the revival did not sustain and underage hurling fell away quickly thereafter in the parish.

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 Clonbroney as Camlin Rovers) reached the championship final and retained the Minor Division 2 League (also won as Camlin Rovers). 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 U-14 league and championship titles would be retained the following year in 2001.

Killoe were now regularly involved in the shakeup for underage honours winning Juvenile Leagues in 2002 and 2005, a Minor League in 2004, and in 2005 Killoe won the Minor Championship with victory over neighbours Clonguish by 2-11 to 2-7, the first Minor Championship title won by a solely Killoe team since 1936 (the 1978, 1985 & 1990 titles were won in amalgamations). It is worth noting that seven members of that 2005 Minor Championship winning squad would go onto win the 2012 Senior Football Championship.

The latter half of the 2000's saw an explosion of titles as Killoe emerged alongside Northern Gaels and St. Vincent’s as the foremost underage clubs in the county. The Juvenile team won back to back league and championship titles in 2007 and 2008. The U-14’s also achieved 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 Minor 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 the county's fourth Leinster title, upsetting the odds against Offaly with five Killoe players involved – Ronan Keogh, Darragh Bennett, Padraig McCormack, Mark Hughes and Paddy Thompson.

It is worth noting that Killoe Minor Club teams changed name from Killoe to Killoe Óg during the early 2000's.

2010's – The Success Continues

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 Minor League, Juvenile Championship and U14 Championship titles to make 2017 a very successful year.

2018 bought more success with back-to-back Minor Championship and Minor League titles, coupled with back-to-back U14 Championship titles as well as U14 League and County Feile success. As the decade came to a close in 2019, the Minors would complete a unique 3-in-row of Minor League titles while the Juveniles captured the League title. The 2010's have proven to be one of the most successful periods in the history of the Killoe Minor club with unprecedented success from U14 to Minor.

Minor Club History researched and compiled by Longford Gaelic Stats