Galway GAA

Galway GAA
Irish: Gaillimh
Province: Connacht
Nickname(s): The Tribesmen
County colours:          
Ground(s): Pearse Stadium, Galway
St Jarlath's Park, Tuam
Dominant sport: Dual county
NFL: Division 2
NHL: Division 1A
Football Championship: Sam Maguire Cup
Hurling Championship: Liam MacCarthy Cup
Ladies' Gaelic football: Brendan Martin Cup
Camogie: O'Duffy Cup
Standard kit
Regular kit
Change kit

The Galway County Boards of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Coiste Chontae na Gaillimhe) or Galway GAA are one of the 38 GAA county boards in Ireland; they are responsible for Gaelic games in County Galway, and for the Galway inter-county teams.

Galway is one of the few 'dual counties' in Ireland, competing in a similar level in both hurling and gaelic football. The two sports are run by separate county boards in Galway, which is unusual, even for a dual county.

Geographically the two games are also quite separate in the county. Generally, football is the dominant game in Connemara, the Aran Islands, Inishbofin, North Galway and the areas around Ballinasloe. Hurling, meanwhile, is traditionally stronger in the South and East parts of Galway, with clubs such as Portumna, Ardrahan, and Gort each having multiple county titles. Galway city has strong teams in both codes, such as Castlegar in hurling and Salthill-Knocknacarra in football. There are exceptions to this rule of thumb, with hurling pockets in football areas and vice versa. Also, some parish clubs have fielded senior teams in hurling and football in the same season, such as Ballinasloe, Monivea Abbeyknockmoy and Moycullen.


Galway GAA has jurisdiction over the area of the traditional county of Galway. Galway GAA forms a part of the provincial branch, Connacht GAA. Unlike other counties in Ireland, Gaelic games in Galway are run by two separate county boards. Gaelic football is organised by the Galway football board and hurling is organised by the Galway hurling board. This separation resulted in two different county crests, two different county jerseys and two different team sponsors, before the crests, sponsorship and jerseys of the two teams were amalgamated in 2013.[1] The boards in Galway also organise the annual county championships in football and hurling for the clubs of Galway

Crest and colours

Galway's traditional colours are maroon and white. In the early years of GAA competition, Galway teams wore the colours of the county champions in each sport. In 1936, however, the county adopted maroon as its primary colour. A crest was added to the jersey in the 1950s, with different crests coming into use for each sport. Although the teams most often wear white shorts and maroon socks, the teams have also worn all maroon kits in the past.[2]

Until 2013, the football and hurling boards of Galway both used their own separate county crests for their teams. Galway's final football crest depicted a Galway hooker, a traditional fishing boat, along with a gaelic football and contained the county motto "Ceart agus Cóir", while the final hurling crest was based on the coat of arms of Galway city, shown on the left, with the county's Irish name, Gaillimh, and the initials CLG written underneath, CLG being short for Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, the GAA's Irish name.

The teams began using the same jerseys and crest in 2013, ahead of that year's Football and Hurling National Leagues. This new crest was, for the most part, the same as the hurling crest with the most notable differences being the angle of the boat, and the replacing of the letters CLG with GAA.


Years Sponsor
Senior Football Team Senior Hurling Team
1880s–1980s No Sponsor
1980s–1990 Tommy Varden Catering No Sponsor
1990–2008 Supermac's
2008–2011 Aer Arann
2011–2012 Cancer Care West
2013– Supermac's

The first sponsor of any Galway team was Tommy Varden's Catering service, in the mid to late 1980s. Sponsorship wasn't as open in the GAA at the time, and it wasn't until 1991 that regulations around sponsorship were eased. Tommy Varden sponsorship of the footballers was followed by the Supermac's fast food chain sponsoring the hurlers. In 2008, Tommy Varden ended the 25-year association with Galway football, and was replaced by Aer Arann as sponsors.[3] After entering receivership, however, Aer Arann were forced to pull out of the sponsorship two years early, having sponsored the team in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons.[4] In 2011, it was announced that the footballer's jersey would carry the logo of Cancer Care West.[5] This made Galway the first GAA team to display the name of a charity on their county jersey rather than a corporate sponsor.

Starting in the 2013 season, and with a five-year sponsorship planned, the two teams are both sponsored by Supermac's, previously the sponsors of only the hurlers.[6]

Gaelic football


Early years

The first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship took place in 1887. In that season, the tournament was an open draw, while from 1887 until 1891, counties were represented by the club who had won the county championship. The Galway championship was not started until the 1889 season however, meaning Galway had no county champions. Galway were supposed to play their first match in the All-Ireland against Wexford, but did not play, allowing Wexford a pass into the next round. The following 1888 season was supposed to see the introduction of provincial championships, but Galway were the only team in Connacht at the time. Due to the season being cut short by a tour to America, the semi-finals, for which Galway would have qualified as Connacht's representatives, never took place. They were also absent from the 1889 championship. In 1890, Galway were given a bye to the semi-final as the only Connacht team, and were, as in 1887, drawn against Wexford. Like 1887, the Tribesmen again failed to play their match, giving the Leinstermen a free pass to the final.

It wasn't until the 1900 season that Galway were involved again. 1900 saw the introduction of a new All-Ireland format. The four provincial championships would be played as usual, with the four champions playing in the "Home" championship, and the winners of the Home final going on to face London in the All-Ireland final. This was also the case for the 1901, 1902 and 1903 championships. Once more the only Connacht team, the Tribesmen advanced to the semi-finals of the Home championship. The game again failed to take place, but this time Galway were the beneficiaries, with Antrim giving the team a pass. This resulted in the bizarre situation of a Galway team reaching the Home final without playing a single match. In 1900, thirteen years after the first championship, Galway played in their first match of the competition, in the final against Tipperary, and were beaten by 2-17 to 0-1.

1901 saw the first ever Connacht championship take place. Galway beat Roscommon in the semi-finals, but were beaten by Mayo in the first ever final. With the exception of 1902 and 1904, where Galway and Mayo respectively were unopposed, a Connacht championship was staged each season after this, which until 2001's introduction of a qualifier system, granted the winner an All-Ireland semi-final berth.

Despite having represented the province a number of times by default, it wasn't until 1911, that Galway earned the right to call themselves full Connacht champions, when the Tribesmen defeated Roscommon by a single point on a score of 1-03 to 1-02. They were beaten by Cork in the semi finals, losing by 3-4 to 0-2. Galway were also Connacht champions in 1913 and 1917, without winning their semi-finals, but the 1919 championship saw them reach their first ever All-Ireland final. After beating Cavan 4-2 to 2-2 in the replay of their semi-final, the Tribesmen lost the final by 2-5 to 0-1, against Kildare.

Galway won their first ever title in the 1925 championship. The championship has become known for the farcical manner in which the play-offs took place. The Connacht final was not held in time to produce a team to play the other three provinces in the semi-finals. Mayo, the previous season's Connacht champions were nominated to represent the province. Mayo beat Wexford in their semi-final, while Kerry beat Cavan in the other semi-final. However, both Kerry and Cavan were disqualified for fielding illegal players. Mayo were declared champions without the need for a final. However, in the meantime, Galway defeated Mayo in the Connacht final, which caused confusion. The nomination of Mayo to represent Connacht was withdrawn, and Galway were declared rightful Connacht champions and All-Ireland champions.

This was deemed unsatisfactory, however, and the GAA ordered the semi-finals to be replayed, with Galway taking the place of Connacht champions. However, Kerry complained that their semi-final victory over Cavan should stand. When the GAA insisted that it should not stand due to the disqualifications Kerry withdrew, leaving Cavan to automatically proceed to the final. Galway defeated Cavan in the final. The farce went on so long that the final was not played until January 10, 1926. In the end Cavan, despite having previously been disqualified, finished with a silver medal, Mayo, despite having previously been declared champions, were eliminated, and Galway, despite having previously been removed from the tournament, were champions.Officially there wasn't any championship in 1925.

Their next title came under more straightforward circumstances, in 1934. They beat Dublin 3-5 to 1-9 in the final to take the Sam Maguire Cup to Connacht for the first time since it was originally presented to the winning team in 1928. Four years later in the 1938 championship, Galway claimed their third football All-Ireland. The final with Kerry had to replayed after it finished level at 3-3 to 2-6, but the Tribesmen won the replay 2-4 to 0-7. Title number four came nearly twenty years later when Galway beat Cork 2-13 to 3-7 in the 1956 final in Croke Park.

1960s success

Galway started the decade with a Connacht title. Wins over Mayo and Sligo took the team through to the final of the 1960 Connacht Championship. A win over Leitrim put the Tribesmen through to the All-Ireland semi-finals, where they met Kerry. A goal from the Kingdom proved decisive as Galway lost by 1-08 to 0-08.

Galway and Down in action in the 1965 National League semi-final

1966 was perhaps Galway's most successful year in Gaelic football. Their Connacht campaign began in Castlebar against Roscommon, Galway winning, by a score of 1–11 to 0–5. In the final, the Tribesmen came up against Mayo in Castlebar and were fortunate to win, edging Mayo out by a single point with a final score of 0–12 to 1–8. The semi-final win over Cork was a close affair as Johnny Geraghty made two wondrous saves from Niall Fitzgerald in the second half. Galway eked out a win 1–11 to 1–9 with Jimmy Duggan again outstanding and Coleen McDonagh fitting in well and Cyril Dunne (1–7) best in attack. Meath defeated Down in the other semi-final and were firm favourites to beat Galway in the final. Galway travelled as a united front to the final and pulverized Meath to win comfortably by 1–10 to 0–7. That victory sealed a memorable "3 In A Row" of All-Ireland titles.

1970s to early 1990s

Despite a number of All-Ireland final appearances in the early 1970s and another in the 1983 championship, neither decade was as successful for the Tribesmen as the 60s had been. Galway made it to the final in 1971, 1973 and 1974, but lost each time, being beaten by Offaly, Cork and Dublin respectively.

Galway won five Connacht titles in the 1980s, but qualified for only one All-Ireland final. The team did come close to making the final at the expense of eventual All Ireland champions Offaly in 1982, leading for most of the 1982 All Ireland semi-final, before succumbing to a point from Brendan Lowry.

The one final the team did qualify for in the decade was in 1983, where they came up against Dublin, in a match now infamous for foul play and thuggery. After an undisciplined beginning to the game, Barney Rock scored a bizarre goal from 40 yards after a poor free-out from Galway goalkeeper Padraig Coyne. The Galway players protested, claiming the goal should not have stood, due to Dublin manager Kevin Heffernan interfering with play as he attended to the injured Joe McNally, but the goal stood. Not long after, following a tussle in midfield, Dublin's Brian Mullins swung back his arm and connected with Brian Talty and the referee decided to send Mullins off. Shortly before half-time a number of players clashed beneath the Hogan Stand, leading referee John Gough to send off a player from each side, Dublin's Ray Hazley and Galway's Tomás Tierney.

The match remained heated until half-time. Players from both sides clashed in the tunnel as they left the field for the break, and although rumours circulated for years about the incident, whatever happened in the tunnel, stayed in the tunnel. Whatever peace had the time apart may have brought completely disappeared five minutes after the restart, with the dismissal of Kieran Duff of Dublin after he kicked Galway’s Pat O’Neill while he was on the ground. This left Dublin with 12 men on the field to Galway's 14. Galway, however, could not make their two-man advantage count and ultimately lost 1-10 to 1-8. In the aftermath of the match, Galway players Tomás Tierney and Peter Lee were given one month bans, while four individuals from the Dublin team received bans including a 12-month ban to Duff, for the kick to O'Neill's head, and a 3-month ban to manager Heffernan.[7]

Depleted by four injuries and a fifth to free-taker Gay MacManus, Galway were well beaten in 1984 semi-final by Kerry, but came close in the 1986 semi-final with Tyrone, as well as against Cork in 1987, when Larry Tompkins forced a replay. After the semi-final against Cork, however, the team hit a slump provincially, which kept them out of the reckoning for some time.

Late 1990s revival

It wasn't until 1995 that the team won another Connacht title. They beat Mayo in the Connacht final by 7 points to qualify for the semi-finals, but were knocked out with a three-point loss to Tyrone. Galway were knocked out of the next two Connacht championships by Mayo, who won the competition on both occasions, but the team did not have to wait as long as before for their next Connacht title.

In the 1998 championship, led by Mayo-born manager John O'Mahony, Galway won their first round encounter with Mayo, before overcoming Leitrim by 1-16 to 0-05 in the semi-final. The first final ended as a draw, 11 points apiece with Roscommon, but Galway won the replay in Hyde Park. In the semis, Galway came up against Ulster champions Derry, and won by 0-16 to 1-09. In the final the team faced a Kildare team that had just beaten the previous year's champions, Kerry, and were coached by 8 time All-Ireland winning manager Mick O'Dwyer. Galway went into the final as underdogs,[8] but outstanding performances from Ja Fallon and Michael Donnellan in that match, along with a superbly taken goal from a young Padraig Joyce, helped Galway overcome the Lilywhites by 1-14 to 1-10. Captain Ray Silke lifted the Sam Maguire, and Galway became the first Connacht team in 32 years to win an All-Ireland title.

2000 and 2001: New Millennium Success

Galway made a strong start to the new millennium. After beating Leitrim in the Connacht final, Galway faced Kildare in the semi-final, winning by 0-15 to 2-6 to progress to the final, with Pádraic Joyce scoring 7 of Galway's points.[9] Galway's opponents in the final were a Kerry team managed by eight time All-Ireland winning player, Páidí Ó Sé. Galway came from behind to draw level with Kerry at 0-14 each, putting the game through to a replay. In the replay, however, Galway were beaten by four points, with a final score of 0-17 to 1-10.

Galway came back the following year, however. Due to rule changes in the 2001 season, a qualifier round was introduced to allow teams eliminated from their provincial championship to make it through to the latter stages of the competiotion. Galway were forced to make use of this new 'back door' after they were knocked out of the Connacht championship in the semi-finals by Roscommon. Galway were put into Round 3 of the qualifiers, where they came up against Armagh. After a hard fought match Galway came out as winners on a scoreline of just 0-13 to 0-12, Paul Clancy scoring the winning point.[10] After that, Galway faced beaten Munster finalists Cork in Round 4, who they beat by a score of 1-14 to 1-10 to qualify for the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

In the quarters, the team came up against Roscommon, the team that had knocked them into the qualifiers to begin with. Galway made use of their second chance, beating the Rossies by 0-14 to 1-05, to qualify for a semi-final against fellow 'back door' team Derry. Galway came out on top in the semi-final, beating the northerners by three points to qualify for the All-Ireland final, thus becoming the first team to qualify for an All-Ireland final without being champions of their own province. They went into the final as massive underdogs, however, as their opponents Meath had beaten the previous year's champions Kerry 2-14 to 0-05, and had limited Kerry to a single point in the second half.[11][12] Things did not work out as expected for Meath fans however, and after going in level at the break at 6 points apiece, Galway came out after half-time and blew Meath away, scoring 11 second half points to Meath's 2, giving a final score of 0-17 to 0-08. Pádraic Joyce alone scored 10 points in the final to take his tally to 3-45 in eight games, and finished the season as the Championship's top scorer. This time it was Gary Fahey who lifted the Sam Maguire, giving the Tribesmen their second All-Ireland win in four years, and making Galway the first ever 'back door' champions.

2002-2009: Connacht Titles and Qualifier Struggles

The 2002 Championship saw Galway win another Connacht title, as they beat Sligo by a goal to win the final in MacHale Park. They did not fare as well outside of Connacht however, and were beaten 2-17 to 1-12 by Kerry in the quarter-final. The team won another Connacht title in the 2003 Championship, this time beating Mayo in the final. The team were again beaten in the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland series however, losing to Donegal by three points.

2004's Championship saw the team lose their status as Connacht champions, as the team were beaten in the semi-final by Mayo. Galway were then knocked out in Round 3 of the qualifiers, against the previous year's All-Ireland winners Tyrone. In August of that year, O'Mahony left his post as manager, having been in charge of the team for seven years, winning 4 Connacht titles and 2 All-Irelands.[13] He was replaced by his fellow Mayo native, Peter Ford.

In 2005, Galway won back the Connacht title, beating Mayo on a scoreline of 0–10 to 0–8 in the final. They were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Cork, who had come up through the qualifiers, losing by 2–14 to 2–11. The 2006 Championship again saw Galway and Mayo contest the Connacht final, with Mayo coming out on top. Galway were then knocked out by Westmeath in their next match, losing by one point in their Round 4 match. 2007 saw the team beat Mayo by 7 points in the first round of the Connacht championship, before overcoming Leitrim by 0-17 to 1-10 in the semi-finals. In the final, however, Galway were on the wrong side of an upset, losing by a single point to Sligo, who had not won a Connacht championship since 1975. Again Galway lost their qualifier match, being beaten by Meath on a score of 2-14 to 1-14. Ford left his post at the end of the championship, being replaced by Liam Sammon.

The 2008 Championship saw the Tribesmen regain the Connacht title, with a victory over Mayo in the final by a score of 2–12 to 1–14. In the quarter-finals Galway fell to the eventual All-Ireland runners-up, Kerry, by a score of 1–21 to 1–16. In 2009's Championship, Galway's opener was a match away to London, where they won 1–18 to 1–07. They then met Sligo in the semi-final, where only a point from Joe Bergin and a Seán Armstrong goal in injury time separated the sides, as Galway won by 1-13 to 0-12, making it to their fifth straight Connacht final. Galway again faced rivals Mayo, who came into the match on the back of an impressive 3–18 to 0–07 victory over Roscommon. Mayo lead for much of the final, with the score at 2–11 to 0–10 late in the match. Galway attempted a late fightback, which started with a Michael Meehan free, and with 72 minutes on the clock, Meehan scored a goal that pulled Galway level at 2–11 to 1–14. In the 73rd minute, however, Peadar Gardiner of Mayo put over the winning point, ending Galway's comeback. Galway went into the final round of the qualifiers, where they lost by one point to Donegal, ending their 2009 campaign. This was Sammon's last campaign in charge, and he left his post at the end of the championship.


After the resignation of Liam Sammon, former All-Ireland winning Armagh manager Joe Kernan became the new Galway football manager. The senior footballers had, overall, a disappointing season in 2010. The National League campaign saw the team come close to relegation. Galway won three and lost four of their League games. They defeated Monaghan 1-20 to 1-14, Tyrone 1-15 to 0-14 and Dublin 1-14 to 0-14, but lost to Mayo 1-10 to 2-14, Cork 1-17 to 1-19, Kerry 1-9 to 2-16 and Derry 1-12 to 2-13.

Galway nearly suffered a disastrous start to the 2010 Connacht Championship, just scraping past minnows New York by 2-13 to 0-12. The Connacht semi-final against Sligo showed little improvement, and at half-time, Galway trailed Sligo 1-8 to 0-2. However, Galway managed to salvage an undeserved draw, with an Eoin Concannon goal and a Gareth Bradshaw point levelling the match at 1-10 each. Sligo beat Galway in the replay, on a score of 1-14 to 0-16, knocking Galway into the qualifiers. The Tribesmen faced Wexford in the Round 2 game in Pearse Stadium, a week after the Sligo defeat. Their 1-11 to 0-13 defeat against Wexford dumped the team out of the Championship, their second single point qualifier defeat in a row, and Kernan resigned on 4 August 2010, after only one year in charge. Kernan said he felt his position as manager was being 'undermined'.

In October 2010 former Westmeath boss Tomás Ó Flatharta was appointed as manager to replace Kernan. 2011 proved to be another disappointing year for the footballers, however, as they were relegated to Division 2 of the National League. The Connacht championship started poorly, and despite taking the lead in the first half, Galway were beaten by rivals Mayo. The 1-12 to 1-6 defeat sent Galway to the qualifiers again. Galway suffered yet another one-point defeat, this time to Meath on a scoreline of 0-11 to 0-10. As a result, Tomás Ó Flatharta was axed as manager only one year after taking charge.

In October 2011, Alan Mulholland, the former Under-21 manager, was appointed as Senior manager as Ó Flatharta's replacement. The 2012 season saw a vast improvement for the team from the FBD League right through to the League quarter-final which saw wins over Derry, Meath and Monaghan, two defeats by Westmeath and Tyrone, and two draws against Louth and Kildare after extra-time. They had an impressive start to the Connacht Championship beating Roscommon comfortably by 3-15 to 0-10. This promising start to the championship proved a false dawn however, as the semi-final saw Sligo run out winners, by a margin 2-15 to 0-16, with the two goals coming from Adrian Marren. Galway were knocked out of the 2012 championship by Antrim, which raised many questions about the structures and organisation of football in the county and how the county had fallen back, having been a power in the game ten years previously.

2013 saw the Tribesmen have a mixed league campaign, missing out promotion to Division 1 for the second season in a row. They then had a dreadful start to the Connacht Championship, being humiliated in their own ground by neighbours Mayo, on a scoreline of 4-16 to 0-11. Galway ended the game with only 13 players after receiving two red cards. This defeat meant that Galway were put into to the qualifiers. Despite being the first All-Ireland champions to have come through the 'back door', in 2001, Galway's form outside of the Connacht Championship had been extremely poor for a number of years, with a win over Louth in the 2004 All-Ireland standing as their only victory outside of Connacht in the Championship from 2002 to 2012.

In the first qualifier round, Galway were drawn at home to Tipperary. Galway managed their first victory outside of Connacht in just under nine years, with an unconvincing 1-12 to 0-11 win, in Pearse Stadium[14] This was followed up by a narrow win over Waterford in Round 2, Galway winning by just one point with a Michael Meehan goal proving vital.[15] This win set up a Round 3 game with Armagh, who had come through their qualifier matches with relative ease, and entered the match as favourites. Despite going into the match as underdogs, Galway produced a strong performance to knock Armagh out, beating the Ulster side by 1-11 to 0-09.[16] This win put Galway through to a Round 4 meeting with Munster runners-up Cork. Galway entered the match even more unfancied than they had been against Armagh but a strong performance saw the team come up just short, losing by a single point, having led the game by four points at one stage.[17]

2014 saw the Tribesmen have a poor start to the league, coming close to relegation to Division 3 but managed to survive after winning the last two games. The side had a strong start to the Connacht Championship with a comprehensive win over the previous year's finalists London, with a final score of 3-17 to 0-07. The win over London put Galway through to a semi-final against Sligo in Markievicz Park, a game which Galway eventually came out of as winners by a scoreline of 0-16 to 0-11. In what was Galway's first Connacht final in five years, the team faced rivals Mayo in their home ground of MacHale Park in Castlebar. Mayo, the reigning champions, ran out winners by 3-14 to 0-16, to win their fourth Connacht title in a row.[18] Qualifying for the provincial final meant that Galway were put into Round 4 of the qualifiers, the stage at which they had been knocked out in 2013. This time they faced a Tipperary team that had beaten Longford and Laois in the previous rounds. The game took place in neutral venue, with the counties meeting in O'Connor Park, Tullamore. The score was close for most of the first half, but two goals before half-time by Fiontán Ó Curraoin and then Tom Flynn put the Tribesmen into a six-point at the break. Early in the second half, two more goals from Danny Cummins and Michael Lundy gave Galway a further stranglehold on the game. Late goals from Tipperary brought the deficite back down to five points, but Galway held on for a final score of 4-17 to 4-12, putting the team through to its first quarter-final since 2008. Galway's opponents in Croke Park were Kerry with the teams meeting on August 3.However The Tribesmen fell short against the eventually All Ireland champions Kerry which resulted in Alan Mulholland stepping down as manager.[19] In September 2014, former Sligo manager Kevin Walsh was installed as the new Galway Senior Football Manager.

2015 proved to be a mixed period during the league despite a good start in their first two outings with wins over Meath and Westmeath they fell short against Down and against Cavan and Laois but showed great confidence against old rivals Roscommon despite being behind by 7 points at half-time. The game against Kildare proved to be a fantastic display from the Tribesmen which resulted in Kildare being relegated to Division 3 and Galway survived yet another year to stay in Division 2.

Footballing families

Several families have seen successive members play on the inter-county team. Joe Duggan was on Galway football teams that lost three-in-a-row in the 1940s, his son Jimmy was on teams that lost three finals in four years between 1971 and 1974. John "Tull" Dunne won two Senior All-Irelands in 1934 and 1938, His son Cyril Dunne was part of the three-in-a-row team that won 1964, 1965, 1966 Senior All-Irelands which John "Tull" Dunne Managed. Michael Donnellan was on the 1925 team that won an All Ireland by default (officially there wasn't any All-Ireland in 1925), and the 1934 team which won it without question. His sons, John Donnellan and Pat Donnellan were on the three-in-a-row teams of the 1960s and grandson Michael sent the pass to Padraig Joyce for a breakthrough goal to win the first of two All Irelands in a four-year period in 1998.

National Football League Finals in which Galway appeared

The following is a list of Galway's National Football League Finals:

Year Venue Winning Team Score Losing Team
1940 Croke Park Galway 2-5 v 1-5 Meath
1957 Croke Park Galway 1-8 v 0-6 Kerry
1965 Croke Park Galway 1-7 v 0-8 Kerry
1966 Croke Park Longford 0-9 v 0-8 Galway
1981 Croke Park Galway 1-11 v 1-3 Roscommon
1984 Limerick Kerry 1-11 v 0-11 Galway
2001 Croke Park Mayo 0-13 v 0-12 Galway
2004 Croke Park Kerry 3-11 v 1-16 Galway
2006 Limerick Kerry 2-12 v 0-10 Galway

Galway won the National Football League in:

All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Finals in which Galway appeared

The following is a list of Galway's All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Finals:

Year Venue Result Attendance
1919 Croke Park   Kildare 2-5   Galway 0-1 32,000
1922 Croke Park Dublin 0-6   Galway 0-4 11,7922
1925 Croke Park Galway 3-2   Cavan 1-2 Not known
1933 Croke Park Cavan 2-5   Galway 1-4 45,188
1934 Croke Park Galway 3-5   Dublin 1-9 36,143
1938 Croke Park Galway 3-3   Kerry 2-6 68,950
1938 Croke Park Galway 2-4   Kerry 0-7 47,851
1940 Croke Park Kerry 0-7   Galway 1-3 60,821
1941 Croke Park Kerry 1-8   Galway 0-7 45,512
1942 Croke Park Dublin 1-10   Galway 1-8 37,105
1956 Croke Park Galway 2-13   Cork 3-7 70,772
1959 Croke Park Kerry 3-7   Galway 1-4 85,897
1963 Croke Park Dublin 1-9   Galway 0-10 87,106
1964 Croke Park Galway 0-15   Kerry 0-10 76,498
1965 Croke Park Galway 0-12   Kerry 0-9 77,735
1966 Croke Park Galway 1-10   Meath 0-7 71,569
1971 Croke Park Offaly 1-14   Galway 2-8 70,789
1973 Croke Park Cork 3-17   Galway 2-13 73,308
1973 Croke Park Dublin 0-14   Galway 1-6 71,898
1983 Croke Park Dublin 1-10   Galway 1-8 71,988
1998 Croke Park Galway 1-14   Kildare 1-10  65,886
2000 Croke Park Galway 0-14   Kerry 0-14 Not known
2000 Croke Park Kerry 0-17   Galway 1-10 64,094
2001 Croke Park Galway 0-17   Meath 0-8 70,842

Galway won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in:


Current football squad

No. Player Position Club
1 Bernard Power Goalkeeper Corofin
2 Eoghan Kerin Right Corner Back Annaghdown
3 Declan Kyne Full Back Clonbur
4 David Wynne Left Corner Back Moycullen
5 Liam Silke Right Half Back Corofin
6 Gary O'Donnell (c) Centre Back Tuam Stars
7 Gareth Bradshaw Left Half Back Moycullen
8 Paul Conroy Midfield St. James'
9 Tom Flynn Midfield Athenry
10 Gary Sice Right Half Forward Corofin
11 Damien Comer Centre Forward Annaghdown
12 Johnny Heaney Left Half Forward Killanin
13 Eamonn Brannigan Right Corner Forward St. Michael's
14 Shane Walsh Full Forward Kilkerrin-Clonberne
15 Danny Cummins Left Corner Forward Claregalway
No. Player Position Club
16 Mághnus Breathnach Substitute An Spidéal
17 Finian Hanley Substitute Salthill-Knocknacarra
18 Alan Kyne Substitute Clonbur
19 David Cunnane Substitute St. Michael's
20 Paul Varley Substitute Cortoon Shamrocks
21 Enda Tierney Substitute Oughterard
22 Peter Cooke Substitute Moycullen
23 Eddie Hoare Substitute St. Michael's
24 Adrian Varley Substitute Cortoon Shamrocks
25 Patrick Sweeney Substitute Killanin
26 Seán Denvir Substitute Mícheal Breathnach

Squad as per Galway v Roscommon, 2016 Connacht Senior Football Championship Final Replay, 17 July 2016

All Stars: 37

Bold denotes player also won Footballer of the Year for the year in question.

Team of the Millennium

This was a team chosen in 1999 by a panel of Galway GAA past presidents and journalists. The goal was to single out the best ever 15 players who had played for Galway in their respective positions, since the foundation of the GAA in 1884 up to the Millennium year, 2000. The players in bold also made the All-Ireland selection of the GAA Team Of The Millennium.

Johnny Geraghty
(Father Griffins)

Right Corner Back Full Back Left Corner Back
Enda Colleran
Noel Tierney
Tom Dillion
(Ahascragh & St Grellan's)

Right Half Back Centre Back Left Half Back
John Donnellan
(Dunmore McHales)
Tommy Joe Gilmore
(Cortoon Shamrocks)
Seán Óg De Paor
(An Cheathrú Rua)

John 'Tull' Dunne
(St Grellan's)
Mattie McDonagh

Right Half Forward Centre Forward Left Half Forward
Cyril Dunne
(St Grellan's)
Seán Purcell
(Tuam Stars)
Seamus Leydon
(Dunmore McHales)

Right Corner Forward Full Forward Left Corner Forward
John Keenan
(Dunmore McHales)
Frank Stockwell
(Tuam Stars)
Brendan Nestor
(Dunmore McHales)


Padraig Mannion in action for Galway in their recent win over All-Ireland Champions Kilkenny in the 2015 Allianz Hurling League.


Early years and 'curse'

Galway were runners up in the very first All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, losing to Tipperary in the 1887 final. The team did not reach another final in the competition until the 1923 Championship. In the 1923 final, Galway defeated Limerick, to become champions for the first time in their history. The team made it to the final four more times in that decade, appearing in 1924, 1925, 1928 and 1929 deciders, but lost on each occasion.

Galway continued to come up short in the Championship, and by the time the team lost three finals in a decade being runners up in 1953, 1955 and again in 1958, it had been 35 years since their only triumph. Like many counties that had previously experienced success before enduring a lengthy spell without titles, Galway became the subject of rumours of a curse, as has also happened to Mayo in football and Clare in hurling. In 1969 Connacht reached the final of the interprovincial Railway Cup for the first time in ten years with a team drawn primarily from Galway, and held Munster to a draw before being beaten in the replay, and this boosted the game in the county. However, a disastrous All-Ireland campaign followed for Galway, with the team losing to London in the 1969 championship and the following year Connacht lost at home to Ulster in the preliminary round of the 1970 Railway Cup, running up 20 wides. By the time the Galway hurlers were heavily beaten in 1975 and 1979 finals the curse was part of folklore.

1980s success

In 1980 Castlegar won the All-Ireland Club Championship, while Connacht beat Munster in that year's Railway Cup final, bringing a measure of success back to Galway. In the 1980 championship, the team was managed by Cyril Farrell. Due to the lack of competition for Galway in Connacht, the team's first match of the season came against Kildare in the quarter-final round, a game which Galway won comfortably on a score of 5–15 to 1–11. From there the team faced Offaly, the Leinster champions, in the semi-final. Galway overcame Offaly by two points on a scoreline of 4–9 to 3–10 to qualify for the decider. Galway faced Limerick in the final. Galway came out on top in a close game that saw five goals scored to win the All-Ireland by 2-15 to 3-9. Captain Joe Connolly became the first Galway man to lift the Liam MacCarthy since Mick Kenny in 1923.

Galway entered the 1981 championship as champions, and played their first game on 19 July against Antrim in the quarter-final, winning by 6-23 to 3-11. Galway progressed to the semi-finals where they met their opponents from the previous year's final, Limerick. A hard fought game between the two finished level at 1-08 to 0-11, with Galway the goal-scoring team. The replay saw Galway come out as five point winners, qualifying for the decider on a final score of 4-16 to 2-17. In the final, Galway met Leinster champions Offaly. Despite having beaten the Faithful County in the previous year's semi-final, Galway failed to retain their title, being three point losers on a score of 2-12 to 0-15.

Galway returned to the final in the 1985 championship, beating Cork to qualify. In the final, the team again met Offaly, and were beaten by their eastern neighbors by 2-11 to 1-12. Galway were again runners up in the 1986 final, when they were beaten by Cork.

The 1987 championship saw Galway qualify for their third final in a row. Still managed by Farrell, Galway overcame Tipperary by 3-20 to 2-17 to make it to the decider. Captained by Conor Hayes and inspired by the young Joe Cooney, who scored five points on the day, Galway defeated Kilkenny by 1-12 to 0-09 in the final. Cooney was named Hurler of the Year for his performances at the age of just 22.

In 1988, Galway opened the defence of their title against London on 16 July, beating the Exiles comfortably by 4-30 to 2-08 in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals they came up against Offaly, a team that had repeatedly stumbled against during the decade, but came out as winners by 3-18 to 3-11. The win over Offaly set up a meeting with Tipperary in the 1988 final. Galway beat the Premier County by 1-15 to 0-14 to win their fourth ever All-Ireland. This was also the first time Galway had managed to retain their title.

Post-1980s struggles

The crest of the Galway hurlers until a new design was introduced in 2013

The youth and skill of the team which won All-Ireland Championships in 1987 and 1988 was suggestive of more to come. John Commins penalty and race back to the line was one of the great images indicating the spirit of the team. Galway were narrowly beaten by Tipperary in a controversial 1989 semi-final and Cork in the final of 1990, while the brilliance of the 1993 final defeat by Kilkenny is sometimes forgotten because of the drama that ensued in the following years. Galway clubs took three successive All Ireland titles in 1992–94 and Athenry three in 1997, 2000 and 2001. For the 2009 Hurling Championship, Galway played in the Leinster Championship, starting a trial period of three years there.

In May 2010, Galway won their ninth National Hurling League with a 2–22 to 1–17 win against Cork at Semple Stadium.[23]

Galway opened their 2010 Championship campaign against Wexford. Despite a second half surge by Wexford, Galway still won by 11 points. Galway then went on to play Offaly. The Faithful county gave Galway a strong scare in the Semi-Final. On the 20th of June, Offaly and Galway drew 3-16 to 2-19. Six days later, the Tribesman beat Offaly in the replay to propel them into their first Leinster Final ever. In the final, Kilkenny won their 20th Championship game in a row, beating Galway by a scoreline of 1-19 to 1-12. Even though they lost, Galway were given an automatic All-Ireland Quarterfinal birth. In that All-Ireland Quarterfinal match, the Tribesman squared up against Tipperary. In a closely contested match all the way through, Galway fell short of the semi-finals again, losing 3-17 to 3-16. Tipperary went on to upset Kilkenny, who were looking for their fifth championship in a row, in the 2010 All-Ireland Final.

Expectations were high in 2011, as many thought that Galway were ready to take the next step and possibly participate in an All-Ireland Final. The League started with great success as Galway won 4 of the first 5 matches including a victory over Kilkenny. But, they dropped the last two giving everyone a sour taste. The Championship brought new life and hope to the supporters of Galway who saw the opportunity at hand for the season. After a Leinster Quarter-final win over Westmeath, Galway took on Dublin and played one of their worst games in recent memory. Besides an early goal by Joe Canning, Galway never seemed to be in the game at all. A decent Dublin team rolled through them. But, Galway erased the bad feelings from Leinster Semi-final exit over the next month. In two qualifying matches, Galway knocked out Clare and Cork handily, propelling them into the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland and a match with Munster runners up, Waterford. Waterford had two weeks earlier been beaten by Tipperary by seven goals. It wasn't known whether Galway would be in the All-Ireland, but coming up against Waterford, at such a low ebb, seemed to be at least a ticket to the semi-final, but, that wasn't the case. Waterford absolutely hammered Galway 2-23 to 2-13. Serious questions were being raised about the coaching, selection, squad of players, and overall mindset of Galway hurling.

New hope in the Cunningham era

Anthony Cunningham, who had just recently led to Galway U-21's to an All-Ireland, was brought up to manage the Senior team. Mattie Coleman and Tom Helebert were picked to help Cunningham. Many expected 2012 to be a rebuilding year for Galway hurling. Many thought that the team was a few years away from contention yet and needed to do a lot of growing. The League was not kind to Galway. They barely saved their status in Division One by having to go a replay in a relegation play-off match with Dublin.

Galway reached a Leinster Final against Kilkenny after wins over Westmeath and Offaly. Still, many felt that Kilkenny would easily beat Galway. But, it wasn't to be. Galway produced a massive upset, beating Galway lifted their first Bob O'Keefe Cup ever. The road didn't stop there. After a slow first half, Galway held off a strong Cork team in the All-Ireland Semi-final. Galway were matched with Kilkenny again for the All-Ireland final. Joe Canning's 10th-minute goal got Galway rolling and they led by 5 at half time: 1-9 to 0-7. Kilkenny, however, were able to fight back. A Henry Shefflin point taken from the penalty spot separated the sides late in the game but, with 30 seconds left, Davy Glennon was fouled and Joe Canning scored from the free putting the All-Ireland Hurling Final to a replay for the first time in 53 years. In the replay however, Kilkenny overpowered Galway, with a final score of 3-22 to 3-11.

A 2012 Leinster Senior Hurling Championship winners' medal was later sold on eBay for €570.[24]


Current hurling squad

No. Player Position Club
1 Colm Callanan Goalkeeper Kinvara
7 Aidan Harte Right Corner Back Gort
6 Daithí Burke Full Back Turloughmore
3 John Hanbury Left Corner Back Rahoon-Newcastle
5 Gearóid McInerney Right Half Back Oranmore-Maree
4 Pádraic Mannion Centre Back Ahascragh-Fohenagh
18 Adrian Tuohy Left Half Back Beagh
8 David Burke (c) Midfield St Thomas'
2 Johnny Coen Midfield Loughrea
13 Conor Whelan Right Half Forward Kinvara
11 Joseph Cooney Centre Forward Sarsfields
12 Joe Canning Left Half Forward Portumna
10 Conor Cooney Right Corner Forward St Thomas'
24 Jason Flynn Full Forward Tommy Larkin's
15 Cathal Mannion Left Corner Forward Ahascragh-Fohenagh
No. Player Position Club
9 Davy Glennon Substitute Mullagh
14 Niall Burke Substitute Oranmore-Maree
16 James Skehill Substitute Cappataggle
17 Paul Killeen Substitute Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry
19 David Collins Substitute Liam Mellows
20 Fergal Moore Substitute Turloughmore
21 Pádraig Brehony Substitute Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry
22 Andy Smith Substitute Portumna
23 Shane Moloney Substitute Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry
25 Cyril Donnellan Substitute Padraig Pearses
26 Brian Molloy Substitute Kilnadeema-Leitrim

Squad as per Galway v Clare, 2016 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, 24 July 2016

All Stars: 83


After losing eight All Ireland finals including the first final in 1932, Galway won their first All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship in 1996. They won three National Camogie League titles in 1994, 2002 and 2005. Four Galway clubs Oranmore, Pearses, Athenry and Mullagh have won the All Ireland senior club championship.[27]

Notable players include All Star award winners[28] Sinéad Cahalan, Veronica Curtin, Jessica Gill, Regina Glynn, Ann Marie Hayes and Therese Maher, young player of the year for 2004 Stephanie Gannon, junior player of the year winner for 1985 Deirdre Costello, and All Ireland final stars Imelda Hobbins Denise Gilligan Sharon Glynn Eileen Naughton

Under Camogie’s National Development Plan 2010-2015, “Our Game, Our Passion,”[29] five new camogie clubs are to be established in the county by 2015.[30]


Ladies' Gaelic football


See also


  1. "Supermacs chips in to unite Galway codes". Irish Examiner. January 29, 2013.
  2. "County Colours". GAA. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  3. "Aer Arann swoops in to sponsor Galway". Galway City Tribune. 1 February 2008.
  4. "Aer Arann ends Galway sponsor link". Irish Examiner. December 17, 2010.
  5. "Galway footballers and cancer charity join forces". Galway Advertiser. 28 April 2010.
  6. "Supermac's Officially Unveils Galway GAA Jersey". Supermac's. 12 March 2013.
  7. "Scannal! Game of Shame". RTÉ Television. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  8. "Underdogs Galway all set to test the mettle of fancied Lilywhites". Connacht Tribune. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2014. MOST football people will remember the last time a Kildare team were raging hot favourites heading into an important inter-county championship clash with Galway. No need to gloat . . . but the bookmakers were wrong, the Lilywhites wilted, and Galway bridged a 32-year gap to win the 1998 All-Ireland senior football final.
  9. "Galway striking in clash of styles". Irish Times. 28 August 2000. Archived from the original on 2001-01-23.
  10. "As it happened: Galway v Armagh, All-Ireland SFC round 3 qualifier". The Score. 20 July 2013.Back in 2001 Galway and Armagh met in an epic Croke Park third round tussle. The maroons shaded that one by 0-13 to 0-12. Paul Clancy’s sweet winner, crafted by Michael Donnellan, was the decisive blow.
  11. Breheny, Martin (22 September 2001). "Galway have the stomach to digest Meath". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 22 September 2001. So much money has flooded onto Meath to win their eighth All-Ireland senior football title tomorrow that it's virtually impossible to believe that this is essentially the same side which took to the championship road last June shackled by uncertainty.
  12. O'Rourke, Colm (23 September 2001). "Expect a Royal party by tea". Sunday Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 23 September 2001. ...I expect that Meath, by teatime, will have started a Royal party.
  13. "O'Mahony cuts Galway link". Irish Examiner. 4 August 2004. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  14. "Galway secure unconvincing win over Tipp". Irish Independent. 29 June 2013.
  15. "Meehan goal vital to Galway escape". Irish Independent. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  16. "Galway 1-11 Armagh 0-09". RTÉ Sport. 13 July 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  17. "Cork 1-17 Galway 1-16". RTÉ Sport. 27 July 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  18. "Mayo ease past Galway in Connacht decider". RTÉ Sport. 13 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  19. "Tribe tame Tipp in Tullamore". 26 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  20. "Connacht MFC final: Galway comeback denies Sligo". Hogan Stand. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  21. "Connacht MFC final replay: Tribe trounce Yeats boys". Hogan Stand. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  22. "Connacht MFC: O Conghaile points Tribesmen to title". Hogan Stand. 10 July 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  23. "Galway 2–22 Cork 1–17". RTÉ Sport. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 2010-05-02. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  24. "Galway Board to investigate sale of Leinster winner's medal on eBay". RTÉ Sport. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  25. "Galway far too powerful for Cork in Intermediate final". Irish Examiner. 10 August 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  26. "Leinster IHC final: Tribe see off Model to take". Hogan Stand. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  27. Moran, Mary (2011). A Game of Our Own: The History of Camogie. Dublin, Ireland: Cumann Camógaíochta. p. 460.
  28. All-stars on
  29. Irish Independent March 29 2010: Final goal for camogie
  30. National Development Plan 2010-2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on, pdf download (778k) from download site
  31. "McGrath on song as Tribeswomen make amends". Irish Examiner. 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2013-09-16.

External links

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