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Mungret St Pauls History
Gaelic games have been played for many years in this monastically historic area long before the foundation of the G.A.A. The Mungret St Paul’s club dates back to the 1920’s and from the late years of that decade it has played its part in Limerick’s G.A.A. story.
Mungret was one of the first clubs formed in the Limerick County after the establishment of the G.A.A. and it was somewhat unique in that there were then, as there is today, two clubs in the same parish – namely Mungret and Crecora. The club was very much to the fore in the early days of the G.A.A. but like many other clubs of the time the “Parnell split” took its toll on club membership with the result that the club disbanded.
The Mungret club was reformed in 1895. The club entered the 20th Century in great style winning the Ferrybridge Tournament. This was played in 1901 and is said to be the first trophy ever won by a Mungret team. In the final they beat Shamrocks by 2-11 to 0-2.
Like all clubs Mungret met lean times in their formative years. However Mungret G.A.A. club soldiered on and some years later the old spirit was rekindled with the club being re-formed again in 1929.
The Limerick Leader organised a school competition. The then Principal Mr.P.J .Larkin saw the benefit of this competition and entered a team. This was instrumental in sparking a G.A.A. revival in the parish. A Junior competition was organised and Mungret reached the final only to be beaten by Claughaun.
The clubs youth policy began to reap its rewards and Mungret school won the Leader Cup in 1930 and 1935. In between these victories tragedy struck with the death of the local teacher PJ .Larkin who had been instrumental in the clubs revival.
The first county championship was won in 1935 when the club won the Minor Championship. The club won the Junior Hurling title for the first time in 1937 and its first City title in 1945. The success story continued into the early fifties with the winning of the City Junior Hurling titles in 1951 and 1952.
In the early 1960’s Mungret and Crecora joined forces and achieved some success particularly in the City Junior Hurling championship though failing in the County sections. In 1968 Mungret and Crecora went their separate ways and it was ironic that Mungret annexed the County Junior Title on their own in 1969. The 70’s proved successful with the winning of the Intermediate and Minor Hurling titles in 1975.
On being reformed back in the late 20’s the club flourished in the early years helped by its strong links with the local school. The club in the first few decades was mainly known for its achievements in hurling and enjoyed many successes at Juvenile, Minor and Junior level. Whilst Senior Hurling County success has so far eluded the club Mungret did contest two County semi-finals in the eighties. The most recent successes for the senior club were in 1993 when the club won the Premier Minor Hurling and the County U21 hurling titles and in 2006 when the city and county junior titles were taken.
Many players from the club have worn the Green Jersey of Limerick with distinction, with Liam O’Donoghue, Connie Keating, Mick Barron, Brian Tobin, Brian Begley and Dave Bulfin featuring at senior hurling level with Brian Begley, Darren Horan, Patrick Begley and Cillian Ryan playing for the senior footballers.
On the football side the club went from Junior to Senior status in seven years winning the county junior title in 1990 after narrowly losing the final in the previous year and winning the intermediate crown in 1997 thus gaining the club Senior Football status for the first time ever. The County Senior league title was won in 1999 along with four city senior football titles in the decade from 1998 onwards.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a huge influx of people to the parish with major housing developments in the Raheen area. This saw strong football sides developing which led to winning County U12 titles in 1980, 1981, 1988, 1989 and 1990. The Under 14 titles were won in 1982 and in 1987. An Under 16 title was won in 1985 and a Minor title in 1986. The under 12 hurlers also won 2 county titles during this period in 1988 and 1990. In 2001 the under 12 hurlers and footballers won the City titles for the first time in a number of years with the footballers taking the County title as well. Our juvenile club has emerged as a consistent force in Limerick and taken four more county titles since then; under12 hurling in 2004, under 12 football in 2007 & 2007 and under 14 football in 2008. We also contested county finals at under12 hurling in 2007 and under 12 football in 2008, feile under 14 hurling in 2006 and under 16 football in 2004 and 2007. We continued with county titles in hurling with the U14 title in 2013, U15 county in 2014 and U13, U14 and U16 all winning County titles in 2015, along with the U14 hurlers winning the Féíle in 2015.
We organise training groups from under 6 upwards in both hurling and football and work actively with the local national schools to promote involvement in our national games to ensure a steady stream of young players for the future of the club and county.
Up to 1970 the present St. Paul’s parish was an integral part of the Mungret parish when the suburbs of Limerick expanded with new housing. Games were played in the Monteen area at the village where St. Oliver Plunkett’s church now stands and in more recent times on the County Council ground nearby. For many years various committees have dreamed of having premises worthy of this parish. A delegation from the club met with Irish Cement Ltd. in the early 80’s to discuss the possibility of getting a tract of land on which the dream could become a reality. The company was very generous and today we can see the results.
In July 1987 the clubhouse was opened by Dr. Mick Loftus, President of the G .A.A. This was the culmination of years of hard work -voluntary for the most part by officials and players.
It took 15 years to see the completion of the playing areas and dressing rooms. With the aid of grants from the G.A.A., County Council and Lottery Funds as well as the tremendous effort put into fund raising by the club membership the job was finally completed. We now have a clubhouse, dressing rooms and two fields – one juvenile and one senior at our facilities on the edge of Mungret village along with a third field nearby in the village.
Mungret GAA club have a long and respected tradition in promoting the Gaelic Games at every age level in the parish as well as having close links to the local primary schools, St Nessans, St Pauls and Gaelscoil Raithin, and being the hub of many local activities with its excellent community facilities.
GAA Oral History Project
In 2011 members of Mungret St. Pauls were interviewed as part of the GAA Oral History Project. Mungret St. Pauls had many willing history speakers, talking of their own personal times of GAA and how they got to where they are today. This is very interesting to listen to and really brings an insight into what GAA was like back when these young men were a little bit younger. Those who were interviewed were Pa O’Brien, Micheal Reynolds, Tony McMahon, Michael O’Grady, John O’Grady, Donal Fitzgibbon, Cyril Murphy (R.I.P.), Gerry McNamara, Noel Downey, Maurice Walsh and Raymond O’Hagan (R.I.P.).
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Historic Day for Mungret St. Pauls
On Friday 8 June 2018 a generous crowd were seated in the club house as the night got under way by Chairman, Mike O’Connell who was accompanied by Donal Fitzgibbon from the Mungret St. Pauls Development Committee, John Cregan, Limerick County Board Chairman and Mungret St. Pauls secretary, Brian O’Halloran. There was a run down of how the land eventually got to be in our possession after a long 11 years and we would like to acknowledge those on the committee, Margaret Horgan, Geraldine Dee, Jim O’Connor, Donal Fitzgibbon, Raymond O’Hagan, John Furey, Noel Downey and Gerry McNamara for all their hard work.
John Cregan added a few words on the hard work that goes on with the players on the pitches and hopes great things come from Mungret St. Pauls. We were delighted to have a wide number of our sponsors, councilors and politicians present on the night which ended up with a fine spread put together by the Catering Committee which we are thankful to for preparing the refreshments on the night.