Derry GAA

Derry GAA
Irish: CLG Dhoire
Province: Ulster
Nickname(s): The Oak Leaf County
County colours:          

Celtic Park, Derry

Owenbeg, Dungiven
Dominant sport: Gaelic football
NFL: Division 2
NHL: Division 2A
Football Championship: Sam Maguire Cup
Hurling Championship: Christy Ring Cup
Ladies' Gaelic football: Brendan Martin Cup
Camogie: Jack McGrath Cup
Standard kit
Regular kit
Change kit
The Derry team ahead of the 2009 National League Final

The Derry County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Coiste Chontae Dhoire) or Derry GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland. It is responsible for gaelic games in County Londonderry in Northern Ireland (the GAA refers to the county as Derry).[1] The county board is also responsible for the Derry inter-county teams.

Gaelic football is the most popular of the county board's gaelic games. The senior football team won an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 1993, and has also won six National League titles and seven Ulster Championships.



Within a year of the GAA's foundation in 1884, GAA clubs were established around the county in Derry, Desertmartin and Magherafelt.[2] However, the administration of Gaelic sports in the county took some time to get properly organised. A Derry county board was established in 1888 and paid affiliation fees to the GAA Central Council. By the following year, although 14 clubs were active, the then GAA President Maurice Davin told the national Congress that the county lacked enough clubs to have its own board. South Derry and North Derry regional boards were established in the 1890s. In the early decades (up to the 1930s), the Derry GAA competitions took in a number of clubs from County Donegal and Tyrone. At various times clubs in South Derry played in the Antrim GAA or Tyrone leagues. The local Catholic Church's opposition to playing games on Sundays hampered growth in the 1890s, but there was something of a revival in the 1900s, especially in hurling. The county also competed sporadically in the Ulster Football Championship from 1904. After the disruption caused by political conflict in the 1910s and early '20s, the county board was re-established briefly in 1926, and definitively in 1929, since when it has remained in existence.[2]


Derry home games are played in the county grounds at Celtic Park. Derry and Owenbeg, Dungiven.[3] Home football games are also sometimes held in Watty Graham Park, Glen or Dean McGlinchey Park, Ballinascreen, which are regarded as secondary stadia.[3] Hurling games are also held at Lavey or Fr McNally Park, Banagher. The current senior football manager is Brian McIver of Balinderry, while Ger Rogan has been appointed Derry senior hurling manager for the incoming season. Both managers also take charge of their respective Under 21 County teams. The Minor football manager is Barry Dillon, while Dee Doherty is in charge of the Minor hurlers.


The GAA in the county is administered by a County Committee (or County Board) with a representative from each GAA club in the County, a Management Committee and a variable number of sub-committees.[4] The county administrative headquarters and centre of excellence are located at Owenbeg, Dungiven.[4]

Inter-county football

The Derry starting 15 which finished lost to Dublin in the 1958 All-Ireland final

In 1947 Derry won the National Football League. The group leaders were invited to play in the League semi-finals because heavy snow had disrupted the competition. Francie Niblock scored one of the finest goals in League history in Croke Park as Derry beat Clare. In 1958, the county won its first ever Ulster Senior Football Championship and caused a massive shock in that year's All-Ireland semi-final, beating Kerry thanks to a Sean O'Connell goal three minutes from the end. In the final, Derry scored a goal ten minutes into the second half through Owen Gribben, but Dublin secured victory with Paddy Farnan and Johnny Joyce goals.

Former Derry manager Paddy Crozier and Kevin McCloy celebrate winning the 2008 National League

In 1965 the Derry Minor team won the All-Ireland Minor Championship, and three years later at Under 21 the bulk of that team captured the All-Ireland Under 21 Championship. Derry won the Ulster Senior Championship three times in the 1970s (1970, 1975 and 1976), but failed to advance past the All-Ireland semi-final stage on each occasion. In 1973 Anthony McGurk became the first player from Derry to be awarded an All Star Award.

The 1980s saw the county win two further All-Ireland Minor Championships (1983 and 1989) and their fifth Ulster Senior Championship (1987).

The 1990s was the county's most successful decade ever. They won the county's second National League title in 1992, before winning the Ulster Championship and the county's first ever All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 1993. Derry won back-to-back National Leagues in 1995 and 1996, and the Under 21s won the 1997 All-Ireland Under 21 Championship. In 1998 Derry won another Ulster Senior Championship. The Derry side of the 1990s has been rated as one of the best of the last 20 years and would have achieved more only a couple of shock defeats such as Down in 1994, Tyrone in 1995 and Cavan in 1997.[5]

Derry won the 2000 National League and the county's Minors won their fourth All-Ireland Minor Championship in 2002. Derry won the 2008 National League; their sixth in all. In recent years they have been overshadowed in the Ulster Senior Championship by the emergence of Tyrone and Donegal, but having topped Division 2 of the NFL in 2013, Derry returns to the Division 1 for the 2014 season.


For more details on this topic including team line-ups, see here


1947, 1992, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2008
1958, 1970, 1975, 1976, 1987, 1993, 1998
1947, 1954, 1958, 1960, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1974, 1993, 1999, 2011
1945, 1947, 1950, 1953, 1959,
1945, 1950, 1953, 1955, 1964, 1967, 1969

Under 21

1968, 1997
1967, 1968, 1976, 1983, 1986, 1993, 1997


1965, 1983, 1989, 2002
1965, 1969, 1970, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2015


1979, 1980, 1981
  • Ulster Vocational Schools Championship: ?

Players' honours

Footballer of the Year

Two Derry players have been awarded the prestigious Texaco Footballer of the Year accolade. Ballymaguigan's Jim McKeever won the inaugural award in 1958, while Henry Downey of the Lavey club received player of the year for his performances in helping Derry win the 1993 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.

All Stars

Since the 1960s there has been a tradition of annually selecting the best footballer in each position, to create a special team of the year. Between 1963 and 1967 these players received what was known as Cú Chulainn awards. In 1971 these awards were formalised into the annual All Stars Awards. Including Sean O'Connell's Cú Chulainn award in 1967, Derry have received 28 All Stars.

GPA Gaelic Football Team of the Year

Since 2006 the Gaelic Players Association have chosen their own team of the year.

2007: Paddy Bradley

International Rules representatives

A number of Derry players have been selected to play International rules football for the Ireland team against Australia; both in the test games (1984, 1986, 1987 and 1990) and since the commencement of the International Rules Series in 1998. Note the table is incomplete.

Player Appearances Years
Sean Martin Lockhart 16 1998 (2), 1999 (2), 2000 (2), 2001 (2), 2003 (2), 2004 (2), 2005 (2), 2006 (2)
Anthony Tohill 8 1998 (2), 1999 (2), 2000 (2), 2001 (2)
Paddy Bradley 2 2008 (2)
Dermot McNicholl 9 1984 (3), 1986 (3), 1987 (3)
Brian McGilligan ? ?
Tony Scullion ? ?


Current football squad

No. Player Position Club
1 Thomas Mallon Goalkeeper An Lúb
2 Oisín Duffy Right Corner Back Foreglen
3 Chrissy McKaigue Full Back Slaughtneil
4 Dermot McBride Left Corner Back Ballinascreen
5 Liam McGoldrick Right Half Back Eoghan Rua
6 Brendan Rogers Centre Half Back Slaughtneil
7 Sean Leo McGoldrick Left Half Back Eoghan Rua
8 Niall Holly Midfield Eoghan Rua
9 Fergal Doherty Midfield Bellaghy
10 Benny Heron Right Half Forward Ballinascreen
11 Mark Lynch (c) Centre Half Forward Banagher
12 Enda Lynn Left Half Forward Greenlough
13 Danny Heavron Right Corner Forward Magherafelt
14 Eoin Bradley Full Forward Glenullin
15 Cailean O'Boyle Left Corner Forward Lavey
No. Player Position Club
16 Eoin McNicholl Substitute Glenullin
17 Karl McKaigue Substitute Slaughtneil
18 Michael McIver Substitute Ballinderry Shamrocks
19 Neil Forrester Substitute Steelstown
20 Patsy Bradley Substitute Slaughtneil
21 Neill McNicholl Substitute Glenullin
22 Brian Óg McGilligan Substitute Banagher
23 Conor Murphy Substitute Dungiven
24 Emmett McGuckin Substitute Magherafelt
25 Niall Loughlin Substitute Greenlough
26 Seán Brady Substitute Ballymaguigan

Squad as per Derry v Galway, 2015 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Qualifier, 18 July 2015

Notable players

For details on former players, see List of Derry Gaelic footballers and Category:Derry Gaelic footballers.

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Player First Senior year Last Senior year Position Club
Paddy Bradley 2000 2012 Full forward Glenullin
Joe Brolly 1990 2000 Right corner forward Dungiven
Eamonn Coleman 19xx 19xx Forward Ballymaguigan
Henry Downey 1988 2001 Centre half back Lavey
Enda Gormley 1985 2000? Left corner forward Glen
Seán Marty Lockhart 1995 2009 Corner back Banagher
Brian McGilligan 198x 1996 Midfield Dungiven
Tommy Gribben 1945 1958 Midfield Bellaghy
Anthony McGurk 19xx 19xx Back / forward Lavey
Jim McKeever 1948 1962 Midfield Ballymaguigan
Kieran McKeever 1988 2002 Right corner back Dungiven
Dermot McNicholl 1983 199x Half forward Glenullin
Mickey Moran 1970 1982 Forward / back Glen
Enda Muldoon 1997 Present Forward / midfield Ballinderry
Sean O'Connell 1957 197x Full forward Ballerin
Tony Scullion 1984 1996 Full back Ballinascreen
Anthony Tohill 1991 2003 Midfield Swatragh
Danny Quinn 1987 1996 Full back Bellaghy
Damian Cassidy 1983 1996 Left half forward Bellaghy
Fergal Doherty 2001 Present Midfield Bellaghy
Larry Diamond 1963 1978 Midfield Bellaghy

Managerial History

Dates Name Notes
????–1946 Unknown
1947 John L. Fay
1948–1957 Unknown
1958–1959 Roddy Gribbin
1960-67 Unknown
1968–1971 Jim McKeever
1971–1972 Paddy O'Hara
1972–1974 Harry Cassidy
1975-79 Frank Kearney
1980–1984 Mickey Moran
1985 Tom Scullion
1986-88 Tom Scullion, Jim McKeever & Phil Stuart
1989-90 Tommy Diamond
Fr Seán Hegarty 1990
1991–1994 Eamonn Coleman
1995 Mickey Moran
1996–1998 Brian Mullins
1999 Eamonn Coleman and Adrian Mc Guckian
2000–2002 Eamonn Coleman
2003–2005 Mickey Moran
2006–2008 Paddy Crozier
2009–2010 Damian Cassidy
2010–2012 John Brennan
2012–2015 Brian McIver
2015- Damian Barton


Mark Craig lifting the trophy for the 2008 Ulster Under-21 Hurling Championship

Derry was a hotbed of early hurling activity, with the city's St Patrick's club winning the Ulster Senior Hurling Championship in 1902-03; county teams mainly drawn from the city won the 1906 championship by a walkover, and the contested 1909 final. However, soon afterwards Gaelic football become the dominant sport in the county, and hurling activity declined, especially in the city where soccer clubs were active.[6]

It was the 1970s before Derry claimed any more major hurling honours. The county won two Ulster Junior Championships in 1974 and 1975, as well as the 1975 All-Ireland Junior Championship. The Minors also won the Ulster Minor Championship twice during the decade in 1973/4? and 1979, before going on to win the next four at the start of the 1980s (1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983); giving the county five Ulster Minor titles in a row. Derry also won another Ulster Junior (1984) and All-Ireland Junior Championship (1982), with Rory Stevenson still holding a record of his own, as the youngest person ever to play in a Final in Croke Park, that year (1982), playing for Kevin Lynch's Hurling Club Under 14 All-Ireland Féile na nGael Winning team.

The 1990s started with Derry claiming back-to-back Ulster Minor titles in 1990 and 1991. The Under 21 side won two more Ulster Under 21 Championships in 1993 and 1997. Derry won the All-Ireland 'B' Senior Hurling Championship in 1996 and the Ulster Intermediate Championship the following year.

In 2000 Derry won their first Ulster Senior Hurling Championship in 92 years, and successfully defended it the following year. The county also won the Ulster Minor Championship in 2001. The Seniors won the Nicky Rackard Cup in 2006, defeating Donegal in the final. Derry Under 21s claimed back-to-back Ulster Under 21 titles in 2007 and 2008.[7]



1902/3?, 1908, 2000, 2001.
1975, 1982
1974, 1975, 1984, 1997??

Under 21

1986, 1987, 1993, 1997, 2007, 2008


1973/4?, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1990, 1991, 2001.



Club scene

For more details on this topic, see Derry club football competitions.
Michael Conway lifting the 2006 Nicky Rackard Cup

Derry has 40 affiliated clubs; 32 football, 2 hurling and 6 dual.[4] Many, or even most Derry GAA followers taken a keener interest in the club scene than the inter-county scene,[8] which can adversely affect attendances at Derry senior matches. The Derry Senior Football Championship is an annual club competition between the top Derry clubs. It is recognised as one of the hardest club championships to get out of successfully in Ireland, as there are so many teams like, Ballinderry, Bellaghy, An Lúb, Slaughtneil, Dungiven and Newbridge who have a realistic chance of success each year. Attendances at matches are particularly high, with many neutrals from County Tyrone also going to matches, as many view it as the highest standard of club football in Ulster. The winners of the Derry Championship qualify to represent their county in the Ulster Senior Club Football Championship and if they win, go on to the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship.


Derry Camogie operates as a sister body of Derry GAA, but along with Ladies Gaelic football, handball and the GAA county board, the Derry camogie clubs are working towards greater integration among the Gaelic games units in the county.[9]


As early as 1934, there were ten Derry camogie clubs.[10] Derry drew with Antrim in the Maguire Cup in 1954, and built on this progress to beat Antrim in that year's Ulster Senior Camogie Championship final by 5-02 to 2-02 - the county's first Ulster Senior Camogie Championship title.[10] They went on to defeat Mayo and London en route to the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship final.[10] However they were beaten by an impressive Dublin side, who had not lost a competitive match since 1947, on a scoreline of 10-04 to 4-02.[10] Theresa Halferty, Carrie Rankin, Patsy McCloskey and Pat O'Brien from this team were chosen on the Ulster team for the inaugural Gael Linn Cup inter-provincial series, but Derry's appearance in the 1954 All-Ireland decider did little to further the game in the county.[10] Derry won the Ulster championship and contested the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship final in 1954. They had previously defeated Antrim in the first round of the 1948 championship, but then surprisingly lost to Down.

Derry reached the final of the All Ireland intermediate championship in 2001, and won the All-Ireland Junior Camogie Championship four times, in 1969, 1978, 2000 and 2007. Derry dominated the new under-16 B championship after its introduction in 2006, winning the finals of 2006,[11] 2007[12] 2008[13] and 2010[14] They followed up by winning the Minor B championship in 2010[15]

Derry won further Ulster Senior Camogie Championships in 1989, 1990, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2006.[16] The county have also won Ulster Junior Camogie Championships 1960, 1967, 1969, 1978, 1986, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2007.[17] The minor camogie side have won the Ulster Minor Championship on nine occasions (1990, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003).[18]

Swatragh qualified for the final of the All-Ireland Senior Club Camogie Championship in 2001. Lavey won the 2009 All Ireland junior club title.[19]

Under Camogie's National Development Plan 2010-2015, “Our Game, Our Passion,”[20] five new camogie clubs are to be established in the county by 2015.[21]

Notable players include All Star award winners[22] Aisling Diamond and Grainne McGoldrick.


  • Ulster Senior: 8
1954, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006
1969, 1978, 2000 and 2007.
  • Ulster Junior: 12
1960, 1967, 1969, 1978, 1986, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007
  • Ulster Minor: 9
1990, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
2006, 2008, 2010
2010, 2012

Notes: The above list of honours may be incomplete. Please add any other honours you know of.

Players' honours

All Stars

The Camogie All Star Awards were first introduced in 2004[23] and Aisling Diamond of Bellaghy won became the first winner from Derry in 2007.[24]

See also


Books published about Gaelic games in County Londonderry include Oakboys: Derry's Football Dream Come True by Eoghan Corry.


  1. See for example "Contact Us" page on Derry GAA website
  2. 1 2 Corry, Eoghan (1993). Oakboys. Dublin, Ireland: Torc Books Ltd.
  3. 1 2 Scott, Ronan (13 February 2009). "'Screen to win back hearts of Derry fans". Gaelic Life. p. 3.
  4. 1 2 3 "Derry profile". Ulster Council website. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  5. Rodgers, Alan (10 October 2008). "Experts say Tyrone rank among the best". Gaelic Life. pp. 20–21.
  6. Corry, Eoghan (1993). Oakboys: Derry’s Football Dream Come True. Dublin, Ireland: Torc Books Ltd. pp. 54–61. ISBN 1-898142-10-6.
  7. "Derry U21s secure Ulster triumph". BBC Sport Online. 31 July 2008. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  8. Scott, Ronan (10 October 2008). "Mind the gap...". Gaelic Life. p. 12.
  9. Derry Camogie website
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 Corry, Eoghan (1993). Oakboys: Derry’s Football Dream Come True. Dublin, Ireland: Torc Books Ltd. pp. 92–93. ISBN 1-898142-10-6.
  11. 2006 u16b Derry 3-3 Armagh 1-2 report on Hogan Stand
  12. 2007 u16b Derry 2-7 Waterford 3-4 Blanchardstown report on Derry camogie site) replay Derry 3-14 Waterford 2-2 St Peregrines Dublin report on Derry Camogie site
  13. 2008 u16b Derry 6-18 Offaly 0-6 at Ashbourne reports on RTE online, Derry camogie site
  14. 2010 u16b Derry 3-9 Limerick 1-6 report on Camogie ie
  15. 2010 All Ireland Minor B, Derry 3-10 Antrim 0-9 report in Sunday Independent and on and scorers
  16. "Ulster Camogie Council - Ulster Senior Championship Roll of Honour". Ulster Camogie Council website. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  17. "Ulster Camogie Council - Ulster Junior Championship Roll of Honour". Ulster Camogie Council website. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  18. "Ulster Camogie Council - Ulster Minor Championship Roll of Honour". Ulster Camogie Council website. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  19. 2009 Junior Lavey 1-11 Dunhill 1-11 report in Irish Times Irish Independent, and on RTE online
  20. "Final goal for camogie". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  21. National Development Plan 2010-2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on, pdf download (778k) from download site
  22. All-stars on
  23. McAleenan, Seamus (18 October 2006). "Oak Leafers receive double nomination". The Irish News. p. ?. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  24. reporter, Staff (17 October 2008). "Adams in contention for award". The Irish News. p. 53. Retrieved 11 November 2008.

External links

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