History – Senior Club
Name: Killoe Young Emmets
Ainm: Emmet Óg, Cill Eo
Colours: White & Green
The origins of the GAA in Killoe date back to 1889 and the foundation of the first club in the Parish called Killoe Erins Hopes. ‘Erins Hope’ was the name of a Fenian gun-running ship that traveled from the USA in 1867 with the aim of assisting a rebellion with arms onboard. The club name quickly changed to Killoe Erins Pride (reasons unknown) and participated in the first Longford Senior Football Championship in 1890. Later that year, a second club was formed in the parish called Killoe McMahons, and both clubs participated concurrently in the unfinished 1891 Senior Football Championship. The McMahons club is no longer found after 1892 while Erins Pride is found later in challenge matches in 1896.
Most clubs, including those in Killoe parish, vanished during the Parnellite Split of the 1890's. In late 1903 we see the re-emergence of GAA in the parish, but now under the name Killoe Young Emmets. It was not uncommon for clubs in Longford to re-emerge post the lean years of the Parnellite split, using a different name, though it remains unclear whether the Young Emmets was the reformed Erins Pride club or an entirely new club in the parish. Other short-lived teams came and went in Killoe parish in the early 1900's, including Soran O'Connell's Sons (1905), Rhyne Hardy Rovers (1905) and Killoe Young Erins Pride (1905), but none of them ever competed in official competition.
Senior Club Name
The Killoe Young Emmets club name has been in existence since 1903 and the timing of the emergence of the club name in late 1903 suggests a link to the 100th anniversary of the death of Robert Emmet which was commemorated across Ireland in September and October 1903, just prior to the first published evidence of the club name in local newspapers in December 1903.
The club is also referred to by the Irish version of Emmet Óg since the late 1950's (strictly speaking the Irish translation of Killoe Young Emmets is 'Na hEiméid Óga Cill Eo'). This use of an Irish version of the name began in 1958 when club notes in the local newspapers started to appear with the club name in Irish for all clbus, reputedly the result of an Irish language initiative by the County Board secretary of the day. This expanded to Irish names appearing in fixtures too by the end of the 1950's and into the 1960's. The Irish version stuck for two clubs in particular... Killoe Young Emmets and Drumlish Young Irelands, who started to be referred to more regularly in print media the 1960's as Emmet Óg and Éire Óg even after other clubs had reverted back to their original naming convention. For Killoe, this somewhat confusing dual-naming convention has continued to this day.
All records prior to the early 1960's exclusively referred to the club name as Killoe Young Emmets, while Emmet Óg began to be used interchangeably with Killoe Young Emmets in the 1960's and 1970's, with a mixture of Emmet Óg or Killoe Young Emmets used during the 1980's and 1990's, and Killoe Emmet Óg used as a variant of the club name in the 2000's.
The underage section of the club is called Killoe Óg while the Ladies Club is called Killoe.
🗓️ Killoe Erins Pride club formed in 1889.
🗓️ Killoe Erins Pride played in 1890 Senior Championship.
🗓️ Killoe McMahons club formed in 1890.
🗓️ Both Erins Pride and McMahons clubs play in unfinished 1891 Championship.
🗓️ Killoe McMahons club is last recorded in 1892, folded thereafter.
🗓️ Killoe Erins Pride club is recorded as late as 1896 in challenge games.
🗓️ Killoe Young Emmets club emerges for the first time in late 1903. ⭐
🗓️ Young Emmets competed in exhibition Hurling & Football games in Dec 1903.
🗓️ Killoe Young Emmets competed in 1904 Football & Hurling Championships.
🗓️ Club won Senior Football Championships in 1907, 1911, 1913 & 1915.
🗓️ Club won Senior Hurling Championship in 1907.
🗓️ Lost SFC final of 1919 to Clonbroney after a replay.
🗓️ Club lapsed in 1920's and was not affiliated for a few years.
🗓️ Reformed on 17th October 1926, affiliating at Junior grade.
🗓️ Won Junior Championship & League titles in 1931.
🗓️ Regraded to new Intermediate grade from 1932.
🗓️ Regraded to Senior from 1933 (IFC axed after 1932).
🗓️ Regraded to Junior from 1935-1943.
🗓️ Won JFC in 1940, but lost title due to objection.
🗓️ Regraded to Senior from 1944-1947.
🗓️ Club was briefly not affiliated in 1948.
🗓️ Club re-organised in 1949 at Junior grade.
🗓️ Won JFC in 1949, but lost title due to objection.
🗓️ Won Junior Championship title in 1951.
🗓️ Promoted to Senior from 1952-1953.
🗓️ Relegated to Junior from 1954-1957.
🗓️ Won Junior Championship title in 1957.
🗓️ Promoted to Senior from 1958-1965.
🗓️ Won Senior Football Championship in 1960.
🗓️ Regraded to new Intermediate grade from 1966.
🗓️ Won Intermediate in 1977 - Promoted to Senior grade.
🗓️ Lost Senior Football Championship finals in 1983 & 1987.
🗓️ Won Senior Football Championships in 1988, 1993, 1995, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020 & 2023.
Killoe Young Emmets (1903-2024)
Seasons at Senior grade (74):
1904, 1905, 1907, 1911, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1933, 1934, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024.
Seasons at Intermediate grade (13):
1932, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977.
Seasons at Junior grade (22):
1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957.
Seasons Not Affiliated (6):
1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1948.
Seasons Club existed but no Competition in Longford (7):
1903, 1906, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1912, 1918.
1889-1919: Origin & Success
Amid the great upheavals of Irish political and social life after the famine and towards the latter years of the 19th century, there came a revival of Gaelic culture, sport, language and traditions. A meeting in Hayes’ Hotel, Thurles on 1st November 1884 gave birth to the one organisation among many that would flourish best, and to the present day the GAA remains one of the great movements of modern Irish history. In the years that followed its foundation, the Gaelic Athletic Association permeated throughout the country with the establishment of clubs, competitions and county structures.
By 1888, the association had been instituted in Longford and soon new clubs sprang up across the county. In 1889 the first club was formed in the parish and called Killoe Erin’s Hopes and was quickly renamed Killoe Erins Pride (sometimes referenced in media as Killoe Pride of Erin). The club competed in the 1890 Senior Football Championship and in the unfinished 1891 Senior Football Championship. A second club called Killoe McMahons emerged in the parish of Killoe in late 1890 when local divisions had given rise to two GAA clubs in the parish (on either side of the Camlin river). While the Erins Hopes and Erins Pride names are obvious, the second club in the parish in 1890 was named in honour of Heber McMahon, the Bishop of Clogher who led the northern forces against Cromwell in the 17th century. The Killoe Erins Pride club actually objected to the formation of the Killoe McMahons club in the parish at the time. In March 1890 Mr. James McCarthy came forward and said he had a club in Killoe to get affiliated. McCarthy claimed that the young men of the upper end of the parish were too far from where the Erins Pride played (he claimed it was four miles distance). Mr. William Hughes who was Secretary of Killoe Erins Pride objected to the formation of a second club, and cited rule 10 of the Association which says "No second club shall be formed in any parish or district unless the consent of the County Committee has previously been obtained". He went on to point out that they already had one club in Killoe and this club which Mr. McCarthy asked to have affiliated was formed of players from their club, and had been organised without the consent of the Co. Committee. The County Board president asked if there was any chance of an amalgamation being made. Mr. McCarthy said no. And so it was that a second club was formed in Killoe in 1890. The Killoe McMahons club competed alongside Killoe Erins Pride in the unfinished 1891 Senior Football Championship.
The Association across Ireland could not escape the divisions of the Parnellite scandal of 1891 which were particularly evident in Longford (which was staunchly anti-Parnell during the split), and the GAA in the county as elsewhere went into significant decline for the remaining years of the 1890's and was all but wiped out by the turn of the century. The Killoe McMahons club is not found in published records after 1892, while the Killoe Erins Pride club is found in challenge games in 1896. Many clubs in Longford have folded or lapsed by the mid to late 1890's with no official competition in Longford from the termination of the unfinished 1891 Championship to the resumption of competition in 1904. In Killoe parish we see the the re-emergence of GAA activity in 1903 for the first time since the mid 1890's, and the emergence of Killoe Young Emmets in late 1903 (named after the patriot Robert Emmet and the club was formed in the year of the 100th anniversary of his death in 1903). Young Emmets are recorded in exhibition games of hurling and football against Longford (Leo Caseys) in December 1903, and later in the revived Senior Football Championship in 1904 when the GAA restarted in Longford. Another short-lived team called Soran O’Connell’s Sons existed in the area at the same time as Young Emmets but did not compete in official competition (unclear whether it was on the Killoe or Clonbroney side of the townland of Soran). A local team called Rhyne Hardy Rovers announced their intention to play challenge games in 1905 but there is no evidence of any games played. There was also a short lived local team in 1905 called Killoe Young Erins Pride, recorded as playing Soran O’Connells Sons in a friendly, and appears to have been a local Junior (underage) team picked from a few townlands, mostly from Dernacross, Drumnacooha and Cornafunshion. Of all the clubs and teams that came and went in the parish from 1888 to 1905, only those bearing the names Killoe Erins Pride and Killoe McMahons and Killoe Young Emmets competed in official competition.
Killoe Young Emmets enjoyed an abundance of success in the 1900's and 1910's. In 1904 Killoe Young Emmets competed in the Senior Football Championship when competition was revived in Longford for the first time since the unfinished 1891 Championship. Killoe made it to the final and were beaten by Longford Leo Caseys in the delayed decider which was played in 1905. Longford Leo Caseys also overcame the Killoe Young Emmets in the final of the inaugural Senior Hurling Championship of 1904 which was also played (and replayed) in 1905. In 1907 Killoe Young Emmets claimed the clubs first Senior Football and Senior Hurling Championship titles, beating the Drumlish/Ballinamuck 98's amalgamation in the Football final replay by 1-8 to 0-1 with JJ Heslin as captain, and beating Longford Leo Caseys in the Hurling final by 3-3 to 0-0. Killoe held onto the Senior Football Championship title for nine years between 1907 and 1915, however some of these championships were not finished or played at all. Killoe actually won four championships in that period, with some taking two years to complete. Paddy Hagan from the townland of Rhyne served as County Board Chairman from 1908-12.
In the years that followed, the legendary ‘Rabbit’ Morgan emerged one of the great Killoe and Longford players of the era. He featured on the Longford county team between 1904 and 1907 and scored seven points as they beat Westmeath 1-13 to 1-12 in 1907. Morgan also played a major role in Killoe's championship successes between 1907 and 1916.
While prior records had long credited Killoe Young Emmets with 1911 and 1912 Senior Football Championship titles, closer analysis of the records for both years carried out in 2014 suggests they were in fact all from the same 1911 Championship which dragged into 1912. The so-called final of 1911 seems more likely, on closer examination, to have been the 1911 semi final, and after some uncertainty over the final opponents, Killoe Young Emmets eventually overcame Edgeworthstown Volunteers in early 1912 to win that delayed 1911 title.
In the 1913 Senior Football Championship, Killoe defeated Longford Commercials by two points to one in a replayed final played in April 1914 (replayed following an objection). Due to the 1913 competition spilling into 1914, there was no championship for 1914 . In the 1915 Championship, Killoe beat Clonguish Gallowglasses in the final by 3-0 to 0-3 in July 1916. Due to the 1915 competition spilling into 1916 and the onset of rebellion and other factors, there was no championship for 1916. With no championship held during the years 1916, 1917 or 1918 due to a mixture of unrest, rebellion and Spanish flu, it would be 1919 before Senior Championship resumed in Longford and Killoe were once again back in the County Final, this time against near neighbours Clonbroney (now Seán Connollys). The Clonbroney men beat Killoe in a replay by 1-3 to 0-3 on 3rd August 1919 at Longford Park (later the greyhound stadium). This was often incorrectly cited as 1917 decider, but it was in fact the 1919 Championship. Thus ended the most successful period for any club in County Longford in those early years of the GAA.
1920-1969: Mixed Fortunes
After losing to Clonbroney in the Championship final replay of 1919, and losing to Edworthstown in the Senior Championship of 1920, the Killoe Young Emmets club went into decline from 1921 and appears to have lapsed from 1921 to 1925. Mike Heslin featured on the Longford team in the successful 1924 Leinster JFC campaign, captaining the team in the first round tie versus Louth. Killoe Young Emmets re-organised on 17th October 1926 at a meeting in Rhyne chaired by Patrick Hagan (Snr). The club affiliated at Junior grade, eventually winning the Junior League and Junior Championship titles in 1931, when Dromard were beaten in the Junior Championship final and Mullinalaghta beaten in the Junior league decider after a replay, in a game played in 1933. Having won the 1931 Junior Championship title, Killoe was regraded to the new Intermediate Championship and competed at Intermediate grade for a year before that grade and competition was discontinued at the end of 1932. This meant Killoe moved into Senior grade in 1933 for the first time since 1920. However by 1935 the club was back in Junior ranks once again.
During this period, Jimmy Quinn was a member of the Longford team that won the first Leinster Minor Championship in 1929 and Dinny Hughes was a sub on the All-Ireland Junior winning side of 1937. In 1939 Killoe won the Junior League defeating Carrickedmond O’Connells in the final. The team was: B. Corrigan, J. Hughes, J. Mollaghan, P. McCormack, J. Quinn, J. Canavan, M. Lennon, J. McGuire, B. Tynan, J. Canning, E. Hughes, H. Hughes, James McGuire, P. Lennon and J. Bratten. Killoe went on to beat Mostrim in the Junior Championship final the following year in 1940, but the title was subsequently awarded to Mostrim on account of two ineligible players in the Killoe lineup. Killoe withdrew from the Senior Football Championship in 1946 & 1947 to focus on Junior activity in those years. The club was not affiliated in 1948 but was back in action the following year and beat Ardagh St. Patricks in the 1949 Junior Championship final, but an objection due to the late appearance of the Young Emmets team on the pitch, resulted in the title being rescinded. In 1951 Killoe won the Junior Championship title (with no objections this time) beating Clonguish in the final and were promoted to senior football from 1952, but would revert back to junior ranks from 1954 to 1957.
In 1955 & 1956 the club was amalgamated in Junior grade with Whiterock Slashers under the name Killoe Slashers, and won the 1956 Junior League. A meeting of the Killoe members in Esker Hall resolved to secede and return to the field as the Killoe Young Emmets club in 1957. During this time, the county board started using the Irish form of some club names in published media from the late fifties and early sixties (which led to Drumlish Young Irelands being referred to as Éire Óg & Killoe Young Emmets being referred to as Emmet Óg). The use of 'Emmet Óg' alongside the official club name of Killoe Young Emmets continues to this day.
In 1957 Killoe won the Junior Championship and returned to Senior grade from 1958. Billy Morgan was the outstanding Killoe footballer of that era. Son of the legendary ‘Rabbit’ he won a Monaghan championship for Ballybay in 1952 and was a member of the Longford Junior team that won the Leinster title a year later. In 2000 he was named on the Longford Team of the Century.
Killoe’s return to senior football in 1958 precipitated a period of prominence that would yield two Leader Cup titles and a Championship. Killoe lost the Leader Cup decider to Longford Slashers in 1958, but exacted revenge the following year by winning the title and the Leader Cup for the very first time in 1959. The rivalry with Longford Slashers was a particular feature of those years and the town side overcame Killoe in the championship final replay of 1959. When the same sides met again the Senior Championship final in 1960, Killoe Young Emmets reversed the result and claimed the clubs first senior championship title in 45 years. The occasion and achievement is now an important part of local folklore as the men of 1960 earned an iconic standing in the parish. Billy Morgan captained the side (and was the first captain to lift the new Seán Connolly Cup) while Mickey Bracken was declared as Man of the Match, described in the Longford Leader as “the 25 year old Rock of Gibraltar, the small human dynamo who roved all over his half of the pitch eliminating any promising Slashers movement, as well as prompting his forwards with slick passes”. The team that won on a scoreline of 2-10 to 1-6 was George Doherty, Jack Toher, Sean McGoey, Liam Quinn, John Hagan, John Bracken, Mickey Bracken, Billy Morgan, Vincent Duignan, Seamus Igoe, Tom McGoldrick, James McGoldrick, Joe Quinn, Davy Sheeran, Séamus McGuire, with subs Tom Brady, Brian O’Hara, Jimmy O’Hara, John Kiernan, Johnny Clarke, John Pat Mahon, Tom O’Leary, Tony Bracken, Eamon Quinn and Mickey Hehir.
Another Leader Cup title followed in 1961 (beating Longford Slashers) with some of the younger players like John Kiernan, Hughie Clarke, Pat Devaney, Tommy Browne and Brendan Igoe among the medalists. They could well have defended their league crown in 62, but amid controversy and confusion over the scoreline in the final, the result went the way of Slashers. Thereafter however, Killoe’s fortunes declined with retirements and mass emigration hitting the club hard, leading to an eventual surrender of senior status in 1965, with the club regraded to the renewed Intermediate grade from 1966. While Longford’s fortunes were on the rise with a National League title in 1966 and a Leinster Championship in 1968, Killoe struggled in competition and it took the dedication of a few to keep the club afloat in those lean years. Billy Morgan who had captained Killoe to the 1960 Senior Championship success, was a member of the Feis Cup winning Longford team in 1965 and had previously played on the 1953 Longford team that won the Leinster Junior Football Championship. Morgan was also a selector for Mick Higgins in 1966-1967 when Longford won the National Football League.
1970’s: Revival & Growth
The seventies marked the foundation of the Killoe Minor Club in 1975, and led to a return to senior football by the end of the decade. A growing young population gave rise to the prospect that Killoe’s fortunes would be on the rise and a number of key individuals played major roles in ensuring that the club was on the ascent.
For much of the early 1970’s Killoe Young Emmets played at Intermediate grade, and amalgamated with Sean Connolly’s as ‘Killoe Connollys’ (1972-1974 & 1976-1977) and with Abbeylara as ‘Killoe/Abbeylara’ (1975) to compete in a new qualifier series for the Senior Championship which existed in those years (Intermediate teams could enter amalgamation sides to compete against the Senior club teams in the Senior Championship from 1972 to 1979).
In 1975 Killoe Young Emmets reached the Intermediate Championship final only to suffer a defeat at the hands of a more experienced Fr. Manning Gaels side. Despite this defeat it was becoming clear that an intermediate title was very much on the horizon, and in 1976 the club reached the Intermediate Championship final again only to lose out to Abbeylara this time. This second Intermediate final defeat in a row was a particularly disappointing result for players and supporters alike.
The 1977 season was to prove the most successful for the club since the great days of the early sixties as the team remained unbeaten throughout to capture the Intermediate League, the Special Intermediate League and the Intermediate Championship, defeating Dromard in the Intermediate championship final and were back in Senior grade from 1978, for the first time since 1965. Two weeks later in Kiltycon, the same two sides met in the first round of the Senior League and Killoe won this game, with John ‘Speedy’ McCormack making his debut at senior level. This young player was to be instrumental in the success ahead.
The seventies also brought underage success which signaled better days to come with a Schools title in 1977, Minor Championship in 1978 and the U-21 title in 1979. That U-21 winning team was: Gerry O’Donnell, Hugh Flynn, John Toher, Mark Mimnagh, Frank Rowley, Eugene Murphy (capt), Eugene McNerney, Frank Kennedy, Brendan Lennon, Matt Duggan, John McCormack, Michael Caherly, Declan Rowley, James McGoldrick, Gerry Rowley, Damien Bennett and super sub Barney Mahon. There was a poignant feature however to the last few years of the decade as the club lost Frankie Farrelly following his untimely and tragic passing in 1978.
1980’s: Success at last
Their return to senior status didn’t bring immediate success, but the emergence of a thriving Minor club would eventually pay dividends. In 1983 Killoe finally reached the Senior Championship final, only to be beaten by Cashel by the narrowest of margins. Despite this defeat, Killoe had signalled its definitive return to the top level. The 1983 team was: Michael McKeon, Eugene Bratten, John Toher, Brendan Bracken, Frank Kennedy, Eugene Murphy (capt), Gerry O’Donnell, Frank Kiernan, Matt Duggan, Brendan Lennon, John McCormack, Declan Rowley, Seamus Nolan, Mark Mimnagh & Damien Bennett. Rowley, Duggan and Bennett had featured for St Mel’s in their Leinster championship winning side of 1982.
Emigration however began to rob the parish of some talented players by the middle of the decade, though one of the stars was making a name for himself on the provincial and national scene. John ‘Speedy’ McCormack was by now an established intercounty player of note and topped the scoring charts in the GAA’s centenary year. He won a Railway Cup with Leinster in 1988 and was rewarded with three successive Allstar nominations.
In 1985 Killoe captured the Leader Cup for the first time in 24 years under McCormack’s captaincy (defeating old foes Longford Slashers by 1-5 to 0-5), keeping hopes of a senior title very much alive, and in 87 they reached the Senior Championship final again, only to be beaten at the finish by Paul Victory’s last minute goal on a scoreline of 2-6 to 1-8. Brendan Lennon captained the team was honoured with the man-of-the-match award (he remains the only player from a losing side to win the Fr McGee trophy). The 1987 final team was Kevin Bracken, Brendan Bracken, John Toher, Mickey Bracken, Frank Kennedy, Paul Rowley, Brendan Lennon, Matt Duggan, M.J. Keogh, Jimmy O’Neill, John McCormack, Declan Rowley, Mark Mimnagh, John Hughes & Eugene Murphy. Subs used were Howard Carrigy, Frank Kiernan and Billy Bratten. Defeat was a particularly difficult pill to swallow as it was another one-point loss and still the Connolly Cup evaded the club’s grasp. The Killoe jersey was to change appearance slightly in 1987 with the return of the ‘green hoop’ which remained until recent years.
1988 marked the arrival of the McCormack brothers from Clonguish and a new trainer in Dessie Dolan. Success finally came in dramatic circumstances and Killoe would create history by becoming the first club to win both the Senior Championship and Junior Championship in the same year. Having overcome Cashel and Slashers (both by a point) to reach another decider, they entered the final as underdogs to Mostrim. The day itself was characterised by some noteworthy features and events – a late arrival on the pitch by a Killoe side that were deep in prayer; a first point that landed while the Artane Band were still on the field; and a trio of second half goals from the McCormack brothers, two of which came while Mostrim suffered a calamity of errors in their defence. Declan Rowley captained the team that prevailed by 3-7 to 1-7 and Frank Kennedy was man of the match. The cavalcade left the town that evening en route to the chapel in Ennybegs and a parish parade as Killoe celebrated an end to a 28 year wait. The 1988 Championship winning team was: Seamus Finnan, Eugene Murphy, John Toher, Billy Bratten, Jimmy O’Neill, Frank Kennedy, Michael Bracken, Declan Rowley (capt), Terry McCormack, Kevin Dooner, M.J. Keogh, John McCormack, Jimmy McCormack, John Hughes, Mark Mimnagh. Subs used: Brendan Bracken & Declan Bracken. Thus began a rich harvest.
1990’s: Building on success
While they struggled to add immediately to the success of 1988, the senior team remained among the top sides in the county alongside Slashers, Mostrim, Ardagh and Colmcille. The minor team, in an amalgamation with Clonbroney won a fourth championship in 1990 and the blend of youth and experience at senior level would eventually pay dividends. The junior team would provide an important conveyor belt to the next level and Killoe won the Special Junior Championship in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 – an amazing five-in-a-row; winning it again in 1997 and 1999 ensured that they were indeed kings of the junior grade. Along with this, came success in the Junior League in 1993& 1994 and the Intermediate (1A) League in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 & 1997.
At senior level, 1993 brought renewed interest in the senior team and their fortunes with the opening of the fantastic new grounds at Emmet Park in Clonee and the appointment of Tommy McCormack as team manager. The new development was opened by Peter Quinn in June 2003 as Killoe defeated Fr Manning Gaels while Roscommon under Dermot Earley overcame Offaly in the intercounty challenge.
Suddenly the time was right for another tilt at the title, though it would come against expectation. Slashers were favourites to regain their crown and were drawn against the Killoe men in round one. The two great rivals would meet for three years running in the opening round of the championship – all three encounters went to a replay. Killoe overcame the town side in 93 and qualified for the decider after victories over Rathcline and Mostrim (by a point). In the final, they defeated a Granard side that were making their first appearance in the county decider since 1982 by 0-9 to 0-7 and the legendary John McCormack was honoured as man-of-the-match as well as winning captain. A lacklustre game will be remembered for a brace of goals scored by the late Micheál Kiernan, which were all ruled out by the referee. As in 1988, they failed to break past the first round of the Leinster championship, losing out in Carlow to the reigning winners Eire Óg by 2-12 to 2-5 (in 88 they lost out to Athlone). A potential double was denied with defeat to Ardagh in the Leader Cup Final
Away from the field of play, the Killoe Scór na nÓg team were winning their way through Leinster and into the clubs first All Ireland Final, with the Novelty Act ‘Heavens just a sin away’. The Leinster title was captured on the stage of the Olympia Theatre, while the group came very close to victory in the All Ireland in the Gaiety Theatre in February 1993. Killoe reached the Leinster Final with the Novelty Act again in 1995 and 1999 but were unsuccessful, though the Ballad Group claimed a second provincial title in 2005.
In 1995 with Tommy McCormack still at the helm, the Young Emmets showed fine spirit in capturing the Senior Championship crown for the eight time – after a gruelling championship campaign, they overcame Ardagh in the decider by 0-11 to 1-5. The 1995 championship will be remembered for the titanic struggles and replays with Longford Slashers and Colmcille en-route to the final – the second game with Slashers regarded as one of the finest club games in Longford of modern times. In the final, they fell behind and trailed by four points at the break but recovered to seal the title. Mark Mimnagh doubled as captain and club chairman, while John Toher was man-of-the-match. A week later, they won their sole Dublin Sevens title in Islandbridge before finishing the year with a visit to New York. St Marys’ Ardee ended any Leinster ambitions after yet another replay and Mostrim put paid to a possible double winning an ill-tempered Leader Cup final.
In the following years, Killoe captured another Junior B Championship title in 1997 as well as winning minor league titles in 1995, 1999 and 2000. The ladies team began their rise as a successful club during the late 1990’s, capturing the Senior B Championship title in 1995, 1996 and 1998.
A number of tragic episodes hit the locality in 1995-96 and the untimely loss of star player Micheál Kiernan brought a wave of grief to the club and parish.
The golden era of the 1980’s and 1990’s eventually came to an end as the established players succumbed to retirement and left the stage. They had given their parish the best of times, with three county titles and a host of memorable days. In the years that closed out the century, Fr Manning Gaels, Dromard and Abbeylara emerged as new or renewed forces, while Killoe failed to make another decider and struggled to make an impression at senior level. The following years would see the seniors take a backseat in terms of prominence to the emerging force of the Killoe underage system.
2000's: Transition and Rebuilding
The new millennium brought with it a period of transition for the club as they struggled to maintain the high levels set during the previous decade and while they suffered unlucky defeats in the 2000 and 2003 semi-finals to Abbeylara and Ballymahon respectively, ultimately Killoe were no longer a consistent force and came perilously close to losing their senior status in 2004 coming through a relegation play-off against Ardagh by a solitary point. There was some success to be had during this period though with an Intermediate League in 2001 and a Junior League in 2002 and the Minor Club’s re-emergence as an underage force promised better days ahead.
In 2000, Billy Morgan was named at Left Full Back on the Longford 'Team of the Millennium'. Billy had captained Killoe to the 1960 Senior Championship win, becoming the first person to lift the new Seán Connolly cup. He played for Longford on the 1953 Leinster JFC title winning team and on Longford's 1965 Feis Cup winning team and was a selector for Mick Higgins in 1966-67 when Longford won the National League. He also won a Senior Championship title with Ballybay in Monaghan in 1952.
2005 brought renewed optimism with the senior’s producing their most consistent season in a number of years winning the Division 1 title for the first time having led the table throughout and reaching the Leader Cup Final. In the decider Killoe faced off against Ballymahon in what was a titanic struggle involving extra time, two red cards and a change of referee during the game. Sean McCormack scored eight points that day and with Michael Dunne particularly impressive on the ’40; Killoe won their first title in a decade by 0-14 to 0-13. The Minor Championship victory that same year provided further cause for hope.
The following years brought great promise but ultimately disappointment with a cruel one point defeat to eventual winners Colmcille in the 2008 semi-final the closest they had come. The declining economic fortunes during this period were beginning to take their toll on clubs throughout the country with Killoe hit hard by the loss of prominent players to foreign shores. By the decade’s end the club was in an almost continuous state of transition and were working hard behind the scenes to make that elusive breakthrough.
2010-2023: Back at the Top
In 2010 former Leitrim All-Star Seamus Quinn took the helm and guided the team to the top of Division 1 pipping county champions Longford Slashers to the title in the dying moments of the final day after a gruelling campaign involving 15 teams. The two sides met in the Leader Cup final for the seventh time in what was a very tense and tight match that went down to the wire with Thomas Nolan outstanding at midfield and Joe McCormack landing the winning point deep into stoppage time amidst very heavy fog. Final score Killoe 0-9 Longford Slashers 0-8. This success was just the springboard the club needed and the following year the U-21’s bridged a 32 year gap in defeating Fr. Manning Gaels 2-9 to 0-8 to win the championship crown. At county level, Killoe players were making a big impression with Sean McCormack, Padraig McCormack and Michael Quinn playing significant roles in the National League successes of 2011 and 2012.
2012 would prove to be the pivotal year for GAA in Killoe with victories in almost all grades from underage to ladies to senior, and after an epic County Final replay – including an unprecedented run of 9 Senior Championship games – Killoe Young Emmets made their long overdue return to the top of Longford Gaelic Football with victory over Longford Slashers to claim their 9th Senior Championship. The first game was a tough physical encounter dominated by both defences with a late free earning Killoe a second-day out. The replay turned out to be an absorbing contest with the lead changing hands on numerous occasions culminating in Daniel Mimnagh’s superbly taken point in the dying moments to bring the game into extra-time. Killoe scored five unanswered points to emerge victorious by 0-15 to 0-12. Cousins Joe and Sean McCormack had the honour of lifting the Sean Connolly Cup while Sean was awarded the man of the match. The expressions of pride, joy and relief across the parish was followed quickly by historic first successes in the Leinster Club Championship with victories over St. Annes Wexford by 2-7 to 2-4 and Navan O’Mahony’s on a scoreline of 2-13 to 0-8 before bowing out to Portlaoise in the semi-finals after a tight encounter (1-11 to 2-5). The success continued with the Senior team completing the double for the first time in the clubs history, beating Longford Slashers 3-11 to 1-7 in the Leader Cup Final and the U-21 team successfully defending their championship title against neighbours Fr. Manning Gaels by 4-16 to 0-7. This brought to a close the most successful year in the club’s history and by virtue of the Senior Championship, Leader Cup, U21 and Minor titles, ensures Killoe’s place in history as the first Longford club to complete the ‘quadruple’.
Sean McCormack would make his mark on the National Football League in 2013, ending the league campaign as joint top scorer and earning a national reputation as a noted marksman. Senior Championship success would come quickly again in 2014, with Killoe beating Mullinalaghta St. Columbas in the County Final to capture our 10th Senior Championship title, which was quickly followed by the Leader Cup title and the U21 Championship title in a year when Killoe teams won 15 different county titles. The Killoe GAA website itself captured the last title of the year by receiving the Leinster GAA ‘Website of the Year’ award for 2013.
As the club celebrated 125 Years of GAA in Killoe in 2014, there was much to be proud of across a century of immense political and cultural change. Killoe retained the Senior Championship title for the first time in the clubs history in 2015 with victory over Abbeylara in the county final and progressed to the semi-final of the Leinster Club Championship. The club ended 2015 by winning the Leader Cup to achieve the 1st back-to-back League & Championship titles in the history of Longford GAA and would go on to capture the ACFL Division 1 title in 2016.
2018 saw Killoe win the Junior Championship for the first time since 1988, and the U20 team (renamed from the previously U21) won the U20 Championship. Killoe reached the Leader Cup final in 2018 but the game was never played due to clashes in fixtures as Mullinalaghta St. Columbas progressed through their successful Leinster Club Championship with Mullinalaghta winning an historic first Leinster Club Championship to widespread & deserved acclaim.
As the decade drew to a close in 2019 the Seán Connolly cup would return to Killoe for the 12th time with a 2019 County Final win over Longford Slashers in a hard fought and close contest. This was topped with back to back titles when the 2020 County Final was finally played in August 2021 (delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic), with victory over Longford Slashers by 0-13 to 1-8 to retain the Connolly Cup. In 2023 Killoe reached the final of both Leader Cup and ACFL Division 1 against Mullinalaghta and both were played as one final with Mullinalaghta winning after a penalty shoot-out. Killoe were back in the SFC final later that same year, this time against neighbours Clonguish and emerged victorious by the narrowest of margins to win a 14th SFC title.
From 2010 to 2023 the Killoe Young Emmets club won 6x Senior Championship titles, 4x Leader Cups, 2x ACFL Division 1 titles, 1x Junior Championship, 6x U21 Championships, 3x Minor Championships, 5x Juvenile Championships and 4x Under 14 Championships. Away from the playing fields, a poll by the Irish Independent newspaper in 2020 voted three Killoe footballers into the Top 20 of Longford Footballers of the past 50 years (1970-2020). This included John 'Speedy' McCormack at #6, Michael Quinn at #8 and Seán McCormack at #18. A poll by the Longford Leader newspaper in 2020 voted Killoe footballers Padraig McCormack at Full Back and Michael Quinn at Left Half Forward in the Longford 'Dream Team' for 2000-2020.
Senior Club History researched and compiled by Colm, John & Paul Devaney