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Kenmare Shamrocks G.A.A. Club History

At a meeting of Kenmare Athletic Club on 25th September 1888 it was decided that the club should affiliate to the newly formed Kerry Co. Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The inaugural meeting took place in the lecture room of the Landsdowne Hotel. The discussion at the meeting was mainly on hurling and the fact that the game was strong in the area. It was claimed that there were men in the area who could “wield the camán against all comers”. The motion to form club clearly stated that the club was both a hurling and football club. A further motion was passed to the effect that the club be known as the Kenmare (Daniel O Connell) branch of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The Club name was later changed to “Kenmare Shamrocks Hurling & Football” – “Craobh Chumann Iomána agus Peile na Seamróige An Neidín”.


Before the club was founded there are many references to the ancient game of hurling being played in the area. In a book, Scéal na hIomána, on the history of hurling before 1884 Brother Liam O Cathnia(R.I.P.) makes several references to the game being played locally. Sunday after Mass was the usual time for the games and games between single and married men were common. On St. Patrick’s day in 1858 in Hoboken New Jersey, an exhibition game of hurling was played between two teams called the “Kenmare Guards”. The names of the teams were recorded in the “Irish News” paper in New York at the time. This may well be the oldest team list of Gaelic games teams in existence. There is another account of a hurling challenge played in Glengariffe Co. Cork between Kenmare and a team sponsored by Lord Bantry, the prize for which was a tierce of porter. Much to the surprise of his lordship Kenmare won and after some discussion both sides shared the prize.