Download the Tale of the Reds for the complete history of Edenderry GAA from 1891 - 1991
On the 28th March 1991 thirteen Gaels came together in Edenderry's GAA pavilion. The agenda contained one item - the production of a book which would record and recall one hundred years of Gaelic games in Edenderry. One hundred years before, Matt Mangan had written the first recorded minutes of a meeting of the GAA in the area. The result of years of work and over 200 meetings produced one of the most comprehensive histories of a GAA club to be found. Its remarkable production also gives a unique insight into life in Edenderry town and surrounding area from 1891 - 1991.
I must therefore take this opportunity on the formation of the clubs first website, which will hopefully record the next period of the clubs history, to sincerely thank the men photographed below for their enormous work and fantastic production.
There is evidence that forms of both hurling and football were played in the Edenderry area before the birth of the GAA in 1884. In 1981 a Hurley was unearthed in a local bog and is believed to be over two hundred years old. Evidence also exists, through the writings of a traveller named Jonathan Binns of football being played as far back as 1836.
As the GAA spread like wildfire across the country, teams were formed in Edenderry. A football team named John Boyle O?Reilly's after the Irish patriot and a hurling team named "The Old Reds" were played games in Edenderry in the early 1890?s. Initially it was the football team that flourished and their dominance in the town lasted till the turn of the century and then hurling succeeded in attracting the young males of the parish in the early part of the 20th century culminating in their first county hurling final in 1911.
A great era for Gaelic games then ensued and cemented the existence of the GAA in the Town with the arrival of Fr. Paul Murphy and his plans to build the parish church in Edenderry. During this period many Hurling and football tournaments were held in order to raise money for the new church. Teams came from all over Leinster to take part in the popular gold medal tournament games.
Success at County level was slow at first however a first title was won in 1925 when the footballers won the junior championship followed by a minor hurling in 1928 and a junior hurling in 1929.
Junior Hurling Team 1929
1938 - Hurling Team Vs. Drumcullen
Putting down Roots
Success off the field was soon followed by success on the playing fields of Offaly; the 30s saw an Intermediate hurling title and another junior football title followed by our first senior and minor football titles in 1936 and 1938 respectively.
Up to that point the club had no permanent grounds with matches being played in various local fields most notably Clogan's field and Barnes field. The death of Fr. Murphy in '33 brought a new priest to the town, Fr. Kearney and he was to leave his mark when he purchased Barnes field the present site of Gaelic Park for the GAA in 1933.
The 50s saw the Reds reach their greatest heights up to that point. With the exception of '56 they reached at the semi-final stage throughout the decade, reaching four finals and winning three. (1951, 1953 ,1957).
The 60s saw Edenderry men star with the county, as Tommy Cullen, Mick Brady and Sean Foran helped Offaly to their first Leinster title in 1960. The 60?s also saw a revival in Hurling, with a Junior and intermediate titles in 62 and 63 respectively saw the Reds regain senior status. The Hurlers remained in the top grade until 1968 and amazingly it was the last time Edenderry had senior hurling status.
The 19th Nov. 1972 marked an important date in the development of the club when the Community Centre was officially opened, Edenderry were the first club in Leinster with such a facility.
It was a fitting development as Offaly had used the grounds to train for the All-Ireland titles of 71 and 72. Another All Ireland followed in 1982 with Edenderry man Gerry Carroll starring in that famous win.
Progress Continues...Glory in the 90's
Back on the club scene the Reds collected their 5th senior football title in 1985 having been beaten in the previous years final. What was to follow toward the end of the 80's and into the 90's on the underage front fuelled the amazing successes of the 90's and into the new century. Senior:- 95, 97, 99, 01 Under 21:- 95, 97, 98 Minor and Junior:- 97 The success peaked in 97 as can be seen above Edenderry won Senior, Junior, Minor and U-21 which culminated in Edenderry wining Offaly club of the year 1997.
On the Big Stage
The Hurling was back too as the Junior hurlers collected the Junior championship in 1998 and two Edenderry men played their parts in Offaly's Hurling All Ireland wins of the 90's. Sean og Farrell and Cillian Farrell picking up winners medals in 1994 and 1998 respectively.
On the county scene Finbarr Cullen, Peter Brady and Kevin Guing helped Offaly to their first Leinster in 15 Years when they overcame Meath in 1997. All three continued their success when they captures Offaly's first Nation League Title in 1998. Finbarr the captain went on to further glory when he represented his proud club and county with Ireland vs. Australia in many international tests.
With the new century beginning the reds are as strong as they ever have been across their proud history and with new developments planned for the club the future is bright.
Finbarr Cullen representing Ireland Vs. Australia in 2000
Offaly Ladies & Leinster Champions 2010
A New Century....New Growth
The first quarter of the new Century has witnessed unprecedented growth for the Club. The development of Ladies Football & Camogie along with the vision of the membership to strive toward the 'One Club Model' has firmly cemented the Club's place in the Community.
Success on the field with the Ladies capturing the Offaly & Leinster Championships in 2010 was quickly followed by Men's Senior Successes in 2011 & 2015.
In 2008 the Club began to serious plan for the future with the development of Strategic Plans that set in train the dual process if increasing participation and developing our facilities. Off the field has seen huge expansion with the development of Weavers Fields and an All Weather Astro at Gaelic Park to compliment the new dressing rooms there.
In 2019, the Club became the first club in Offaly to appoint a dedicated GPO and Mairead Daly continues to carry-out exemplary work in the promotion of games and raising the standards of coaching in the club...The next chapter is already being written!
Senior Co. Champions 2011
Weavers Fields Official Opening 2018
Ball Wall & Astro Official Opening 2021