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Brief history of Westport GAA club

November 7, 2018

The story of Westport GAA club is a proud, unsullied story of devotion to the greatest amateur association in the world. Earliest records suggest that Westport were playing in organised competitions as far back as 1889, when a report in the ‘Tuam News’ of March 29th suggests that Westport defeated Kilmeena on a scoreline of 1-06 to nil. Westport were captained on that occasion by Michael Heraty while Kilmeena were led out by John Duffy. Reports from other newspapers of the time suggest that there was also a GAA team in Murrisk called the ‘Sunbursts’. One of difficulties in tracing the history of the Westport GAA club is that the name of the team changed on a regular basis. Records suggest that players from Westport all featured on the following teams Westport McHales, Westport Croaghpatricks, Derry Croaghpatricks, Aughagower, Aughagower / Derry, Attyreech Shamrock Rovers, Murrisk Sunbursts, Murrisk / Louisburgh, Westport Quay. In 1905 we find the first record of a Westport GAA club meeting at which officers were elected and a committee formed.

One interesting note from early records suggests that Westport GAA club always had strong representation on the county and national GAA committees something that is still very much to the fore in the club. Major John McBride from Westport Quay was one of the first presidents of the Mayo GAA board and his brother Josie was the first president of the Connacht Council. Josie was also instrumental in organising the game of hurling in Westport. During the 20’s Attyreech represented the town on the GAA pitches while in the early 30’s it was the Quay that took up the reins. Then in 1936 at a meeting on March 24th in O’Malley’s new hall all the GAA sections of the parish joined forces and re-organised the Westport GAA club as one unit. The first pitch the club could really call its own was opened in 1958 at a cost of £3000 and appropriately called St. Patrick’s GAA Park. The rest is history as they say as the club went from strength to strength to the present day.

When the history of the GAA is finally penned one name from Westport will feature prominently in that book and that is the name of Paddy Muldoon. While the Aughagower native initially plied his trade with Islandeady winning a west Mayo junior medal in 1959 it didn’t take long until he returned to his roots in Westport town. In the mid sixties he became chairman of the Westport club a position he held for the following nine years. Paddy was manager of the successful Westport junior team that won the county junior championship and his infamous pep-talks ‘I have three subs and I intend to use them’ are still fondly remembered. That same year he was a selector on the Mayo minor team. In 1971 the Mayo minors won the All-Ireland and Paddy was also on the line that day as a selector. Paddy was also a selector for the Mayo senior team in the early seventies. In 1980 he was elected chairman of the Mayo county board and during his 8-year term Mayo won two Connacht senior titles, an All-Ireland U21 title and a minor title. When he stepped down he headed straight for Croke Park and to central council, a position he still holds. Westport GAA club is honoured to have such a close link with Croke Park’s top office and the club will be forever indebted to Paddy for all his support down through the years. “Ní bheidh a leithead arís ann”.

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