A BRIEF HISTORY
In 2010 St Gall’s celebrated its centenary. It all began in April 1910 when pupils from St. Gall’s De La Salle School persuaded their teacher, Tipperary-born Brother Albeus Ryan, to start a football and hurling club. Within a few years they were winning widely at underage level and by 1922 had captured their first county title in football. Br. Albeus was the first resident of the club and ever since, with one exception, that position has been held by a De La Salle brother. This year’s centenary president is Br. Christopher Kelleher.
The club is very much linked with the De La Salle order and has as its emblem the order’s motto ‘signum fidei’ (sign of faith), proudly worn on its jersey by the team today.
Success did not follow the club after 1922 as a combination of sectarian strife, emigration and involvement in the playing of foreign games bedevilled the GAA in Belfast for much of the 20s.
It was 1934 before the club won a senior football championship and it would be almost fifty years before footballing success came its way again. For most of these years, club energies were devoted to hurling. While not gaining championship honours, St Gall’s were always very competitive. Scarrif-native, Br. Austin Durack, was the great driving force for hurling in the club especially in the 1950s.
With the outbreak of the “Troubles” in 1969 history repeated itself. As in the 1920s, all Belfast clubs suffered from the ongoing deteriorating political situation in the north of Ireland. The running of a GAA club was challenging at the peak of the “Troubles” in the 1970s and 1980s. That St. Gall’s survived these troubled times was due to the efforts of men like Mickey Mulgrew, Owen Doyle, Hilary McDaniel, Dicky Dobbin, Oliver McGuckin, Charlie Kearns, Hugh McCullough, Joe McKeever and that redoubtable Kerryman, Br. Leopold Spillane.
1982 saw the club win its second senior football championship and then go on and win its first ever Ulster club title beating Roslea of Fermanagh in the final. Sadly St Gall’s fell at the next hurdle losing to Clan Na Gael, Roscommon, in the all-Ireland semi-final.
In the following years the club launched an intensive under-age policy and by the year 2000 had won four more senior championships as well success in intermediate hurling-mol an oige agus tiochfaidh siad.
In 1983 we established our first handball team with Philip O’Neill captaining our first league team. Since that first team was established we have gone on to take Antrim, Ulster and All-Ireland titles. We now have a handball team in every division and have been the most successful juvenile team in Antrim for several years now.
We have a very dedicated ladies football team which is developing into one of the top teams in Antrim and dare I say Ulster.
We promote cultural activities such as dance, music and language classes, and regularly participate in Scor.
Between 2001 and 2013, St. Gall’s won 12 county finals, two Ulster club titles (2005 and 2009), and had one all-Ireland defeat in 2006. 2009 saw the intermediate hurlers win their first-ever Ulster title, and then go on to defeat Abbey-Duiniry of Galway in the semi-final. It was on to Croke Park for the final where St. Gall’s found Kilkenny champions, St. Lachtain’s, a bridge too far in February 2010.
However the club’s greatest achievement was in 2010 when they defeated Kilmurry-Ibrickane from Clare on St Patrick’s Day to become All Ireland Senior Football Champions. This was the club’s centenary year and what a perfect way to celebrate. This celebration continued throughout the year and the senior footballers also had the unique achievement of winning All Ireland Club Senior Football and All Ireland Sevens Football in the same year. That success continued, with the club winning the prestigious Kilmacud All Ireland Sevens tournament in 2012 and 2014 and in 2014 becoming the first ever Antrim club to achieve a record 8 in a row Senior Football titles.
All Ireland Senior Football Winners 2010
Runners Up 2006
All Ireland Intermediate Hurling Runners Up 2010
Ulster Senior Football Winners 1982, 2005, 2009
Antrim Senior Football champions/titles – 19
Antrim Senior Football Champions record 8 in a row- 2007 – 2014
All Ireland Sevens winners 1985, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012,2014
Ulster Intermediate Hurling Champions 2009
Handball 12 Ulster champions and 3 All-Ireland champions
Ladies Antrim Senior Football Champions 2011