Down GAA

For current information on the Down senior football team, see 2016 Down football season.
Down Gaelic football team
Irish: An Dún
Province: Ulster
Nickname(s): The Mournemen (football)
The Ardsmen (hurling)
County colours: Red & Black
Ground(s): Páirc Esler, Newry
Dominant sport: Gaelic football
NFL: Division 2
NHL: Division 2B
Football Championship: Sam Maguire Cup
Hurling Championship: Christy Ring Cup
Ladies' Gaelic football: Brendan Martin Cup
Camogie: Kay Mills Cup
Standard kit
Regular kit
Change kit

The Down County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Coiste Chontae An Dún) or Down GAA is one of the 32 county boards of the GAA in Ireland, and is responsible for the administration of Gaelic games in County Down.

The county board is also responsible for preparing the Down inter-county teams in the various Gaelic sporting codes; Football, hurling, camogie and handball.

Down was the first of the six counties in Northern Ireland, and the second in Ulster after Cavan to win the All-Ireland football championship, in 1960; the feat was not matched by another team until the 1993 victory of Derry. Down share with Cavan the Ulster record for most All-Ireland victories at 5.

As such, Down is regarded historically as a strong footballing county, and football is widely regarded as the dominant Gaelic sport within the county.

The Ards peninsula, however, is a hurling stronghold within the county, and while the county hurling team are not among the very strongest on the island, competing in the second tier Christy Ring Cup, the 'Ardsmen' (as opposed to the nickname of the football team, the 'Mourne men') have won a number of Ulster Senior and Minor Hurling Championships despite the historical provincial dominance in that sport of Antrim.

In 2013, victory in the Christy Ring Cup final entitled Down to elect, if they chose, to become the second Ulster county in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship for 2014.

The oldest registered club in Down is St Patrick's Mayobridge which was affiliated into the GAA on the 30th April 1888.

Gaelic football


For Current season, see 2016 Down football season.
Down and Galway in action in the 1965 National League semi-final
Down (red) in action against Queens University Belfast in the 2009 Dr. McKenna Cup

With just one loss in six appearances in All Ireland finals, Down have got a reputation for rising to the big occasion. Kitted out in their distinctive red and black, their massive fan base has been responsible for some of the largest match attendances in GAA history. Although in the last twenty years they have been going through a very barren patch at senior level, despite various successes at underage level, in 2010 Down showed signs of improving by gaining promotion to the National Football League Division One and reaching the All Ireland Senior Football final - narrowly losing by 1 point to Cork.[1][2]

Down was not regarded as a Gaelic stronghold when Queen's University won the 1958 Sigerson Cup, and some of its leading players turned their thoughts to Down's inter-county dilemma. They took the 1959 Ulster title with six inter-changeable forwards who introduced off-the-ball running and oddities such as track-suits. In 1960 two goals in a three-minute period from James McCartan, Senior and Paddy Doherty helped beat Kerry, who were almost completely unbeaten at the time, and which brought to an end the Kerry football regime for a few years, and they beat Offaly by a point in 1961 in a tremendous match that featured five first half goals. In that three-year period their loyal supporters smashed every attendance record in the book. When Down played Offaly in 1961 they set a record attendance of 90,556 for a GAA game. Against Dublin in the 1964 National League final a record 70,125 showed up. The 71,573 who watched them play Kerry in 1961 still stands as a record for an All-Ireland semi-final. In 1968, Down beat Kerry with Sean O'Neill and John Murphy goals, again in a two-minute spell. Despite a famous prediction that Down would go on to win three in a row, the county took twenty years to regain its status. In 1991, they surprised favourites Meath, Barry Breen giving them the goal that sent them into a lead of eleven points with 20 minutes to go, too far even for Meath. In 1994, Mickey Linden sent James McCartan, Junior in for a goal directly under Hill 16 which silenced Dublin and helped them claim their fifth title. Down teams through the years have played with great emphasis on attack often leading to the neglect of the defence. This system has cost Down teams in the past 10 years or so with the introduction of more negative tactics to quell forward lines with a massive emphasis on blanket defence.

In 2008, Down defeated Tyrone after a replay in the Ulster Senior Football Championship but fell to Armagh in the Ulster SFC Semi Final. Down went on to play Offaly in the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers. After a convincing 5-19 to 2-10 victory over Offaly, Down faced Laois in round 2 of the qualifiers. Beating Laois by a single point, and with Dan Gordon being sent off, Down were through to the last round of the qualifiers where they played Wexford at Croke Park. Down had Dan Gordon's suspension removed, but awful conditions and poor Down performance resulted in a defeat to Wexford by a 2-13 to 0-12 scoreline.

In 2010, Down reached the All-Ireland Final after a narrow win over Kildare in the Semi-Finals. They lost to Cork at GAA Headquarters, the first time Down has tasted defeat in the All-Ireland Final. Cork were three points down at half-time but they upped the ante in the second half and ran out 0-16 to 0-15 winners in the end. Down captain Benny Coulter's effort on 70 minutes and a fisted Daniel Hughes effort a minute into added time left the bare minimum in it and that was the way it stayed as Cork collected their seventh All-Ireland SFC crown in front of 81,604 spectators.


All Stars

Down have 23 All Stars.

Current football squad

No. Player Position Club
1 Stephen Kane Goalkeeper Kilcoo
2 Darren O'Hagan Right Corner Back Clonduff
3 Luke Howard Full Back Bryansford
4 Ryan Boyle Left Corner Back Warrenpoint
5 Damien Turley Right Half Back Downpatrick
6 Brendan McArdle Centre Back Annaclone
7 Conall McGovern Left Half Back St. Mary's Burren
8 Peter Fitzpatrick Midfield Ballymartin
9 Paul Devlin Midfield Kilcoo
10 Caolan Mooney Right Half Forward Rostrevor
11 Conor Maginn Centre Forward Bryansford
12 Kevin McKernan Left Half Forward St. Mary's Burren
13 Mark Poland Right Corner Forward Longstone
14 Conor Laverty (c) Full Forward Kilcoo
15 Donal O'Hare Left Corner Forward St. Mary's Burren
No. Player Position Club
16 Michael Cunningham Substitute Castlewellan
17 Aidan Carr Substitute Clonduff
18 Arthur McConville Substitute Clonduff
19 Peter Turley Substitute Downpatrick
20 Niall Madine Substitute Saval
21 Ryan Johnston Substitute Kilcoo
22 Kalum King Substitute Bryansford
23 Jerome Johnston Substitute Kilcoo
24 Darragh O'Hanlon Substitute Kilcoo
25 Daniel Hughes Substitute Saval
26 Gerard Collins Substitute Downpatrick
27 Brendan Turley Substitute Saval

Squad as per Down vs Derry, 2015 Ulster Senior Football Championship, Quarter Final, 7 June 2015

Notable players

Particularly notable Down footballers, including prominent senior county team members, All Stars, and those who played for the county and have achieved fame in other walks of life:



Entrance to sports ground, Saul, County Down

Down played in the Leinster Minor Hurling Championship for three years in the 1970s, even playing Antrim in an unusual Leinster semi-final in Croke Park in 1979. Four Down hurling clubs, Ballycran, Ballygalget, Portaferry and Bredagh play in the Antrim League. The first two used the experience to win Ulster Senior Club Hurling Championships. Ballygalget, Portaferry and Ballycran play in Antrim Div 1 while Bredagh play in Div 3. Although Down had not won the All Ireland B championship in four final appearances, when the Ulster Senior hurling championship was revived Down won titles in 1992, 1995 and 1997, losing the All Ireland semi-finals by 14, 11 and 16 points.Down beat Kilkenny in 1993 in a division 1 match 1-12 to 1-11.

In 2013, at the third time of asking, Down finally won the second tier All-Ireland Hurling Championship, the Christy Ring Cup. Their greatest All-Ireland level success to date, victory also earns Down the right to elect to play in the first tier All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship in 2014, should they select to do so. London so selected in 2012, but the previous year Kerry elected to remain in the second tier.

Current hurling squad

No. Player Position Club
1 Stephen Keith Goalkeeper Ballycran
2 Michael Hughes Right Corner Back Ballycran
3 Sean Ennis Full Back Ballycran
4 Declan Ennis Left Corner Back Portaferry
5 Fintan Conway Right Half Back Kilclief
6 Conor Woods Centre Back Ballycran
7 Michael Ennis Left Half Back Ballycran
8 Eoin Clarke Midfield Portaferry
9 Liam Morgan Midfield Liatroim
10 Aaron O'Prey Right Half Forward Portaferry
11 Kevin McGarry Centre Forward Portaferry
12 Paul Sheehan Left Half Forward Newry Shamrocks
13 Danny Toner Right Corner Forward Ballygalget GAC
14 Paul Braniff Full Forward Portaferry
15 Conor Mageean Left Corner Forward Portaferry

Down hurling team v Derry national hurling league 2012


South Down

South Down hurling team
Irish: An Dún Theas
Nickname(s): Non-Ards
Colours:Red and black
Dominant sport:Hurling
NHL: Division 4
Hurling Championship: Lory Meagher Cup
Standard colours

In 2007, the GAA announced that a hurling team from "South Down" (i.e. excluding the Ards peninsula) would compete in parallel to the main Down team,[3] to encourage hurling in an area of growing population where the game has not been strong.[4] While players from all of Down were eligible for the main Down team, Ards players could not play for South Down. The new team competed in the National Hurling League 2008, recording their first win by beating Cavan at Ballela, scoring 4-15 to Cavan's 0-9. South Down then competed in the Nicky Rackard Cup 2008 and in the Lory Meagher Cup until 2011.


Down contested the final of the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship in 1948, having beaten Galway 1-5 to 1-1 in the All Ireland semi-final, with K Mallon the captain and P Dooey their best player, and 13-year-old Berna Kelly played in goal.[5] They won the inaugural All Ireland junior championship in 1968 and inaugural minor (under-16) championship in 1974, further All Ireland junior championships in 1976 and 1991 and the intermediate championship of 1994 which resulted in a brief return to the senior championship. They won the All Ireland championship at Under-16 C level in 2011 and reached the 2011 Nancy Murray Cup final.[6]

Leitrim Fontenoys won the 2004[7] and 2005[8] All Ireland junior club title.

Notable players include Marion McGarvey, Bonnie McGreevy, Máirín McAleenan, Catherine McGourty and Karen Tinelly. Síghle Nic an Ultaigh and Belle O'Loughlin served as presidents of the Camogie Association).

Under Camogie's National Development Plan 2010-2015, “Our Game, Our Passion,”[9] five new camogie clubs are to be established in the county by 2015.[10]

Club Championships

Down GAA clubs


  2. "BBC Sport - Gaelic Games - All-Ireland SFC Final: Cork 0-16 0-15 Down". BBC News. 2010-09-19. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  3. Cummiskey, Gavin (2007-05-17). "Down, Dublin teams to compete in Rackard". The Irish Times. p. Sport, p.24. Retrieved 2009-03-08. The GAA confirmed yesterday that second teams from Down and Dublin would compete in the Nicky Rackard Cup in 2008 [...] non-Ards (Down) and Fingal (Dublin) sides will be entered "on a basis determined by the Central Competitions Control Committee".
  4. Archer, Kenny (2008-05-28). "Hitting the Target - Ulster Council decision not to be taken light(ly)". Irish News. p. 58. The footballers are 'the Mournemen' while the hurlers are 'the Ardsmen', even though there are many Down footballers from outside the Kingdom of Mourne and a few decent hurlers on 'the mainland'.
  5. Connacht Tribune Oct 8 1948; Sunday Independent Irish Newspaper archive Oct 24 1948; Irish News Oct 25 1948 See also photo of Down 1948 Camogie team on Portaferry GAA website
  6. Moran, Mary (2011). A Game of Our Own: The History of Camogie. Dublin, Ireland: Cumann Camógaíochta. p. 460.
  7. 2004 Junior club final Leitrim 4-13 Four Roads 0-8 Four Roads report in Irish Independent
  8. 2005 junior club final Leitrim 1-8 Four Roads 1-4 report in Irish Independent and Irish Times
  9. "Final goal for camogie". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  10. National Development Plan 2010-2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on, pdf download (778k) from download site

External links

Down GAA
Affiliated Clubs
Senior Football Championship

An Riocht - Warrenpoint - Ballyholland - Kilclief - Bryansford - Burren - Castlewellan - Clonduff - Downpatrick - Kilcoo - Liatroim-Fontenoys - Longstone - Loughinisland - Mayobridge - Rostrevor - Saval

Intermediate Football Championship

Annaclone - Ardglass - Bredagh - Carryduff - Clann na Banna - Darragh Cross - Dundrum - Glasdrumman - Glenn - Ballymartin - Newry Shamrocks - Saul - St.John Bosco - Teconnaught - Tullylish - Atticall

Junior Football Championship

Aghaderg - Aughlisnafin - Ballykinlar - Bright - Dromara - Drumaness - Drumgath - Killyleagh - Newry Mitchels - St John's - St Michael's - St Paul's

Senior Hurling Championship

Ballycran - Ballygalget - Portaferry

Intermediate Hurling Championship

Ballela - Bredagh - Kilclief - Liatroim-Fontenoys - Newry Shamrocks - Warrenpoint -

Junior Hurling Championship

Clonduff - Carryduff - Castlewellan - Ballyvarley -

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