Club Focus: The future looks bright for progressive Shandonagh

TOP: The Shandonagh side which drew with Castledaly (1-1 to 0-4) in the 1979 Junior Football Championship final. Back row (L-R): Wilson Boyce, Tom Creagh, John Lyons, JJ Lynch, Kit Sharry, Francis Curley, Tom Duffy. Front row (L-R): JJ Scally, Ciaran Conway, Noel Nugent, Russell Creagh (Capt.), Eddie Tynan, Richard Kavanagh, John Smith and Joe Tynan. Note: Shandonagh won the reply (1-7 to 0-5) and Gerry Hickey, Steve Coughlan and Eddie Clinton, not included in this photo, were part of the successful side. BOTTOM: The Shandonagh side that captured the 2018 Westmeath Intermediate Football Championship title, defeating Milltownpass (1-9 to 0-6).

They are a club steeped in history and the area has a proud tradition of bringing Gaelic games to the local community it serves since the early days of the 1900s.

There were the inevitable breaks and interludes that seem to have affected most rural GAA clubs, but Shandonagh, like a phoenix, rose to win that precious Junior title in ’79 (following defeats in the ’68 and ’77 finals) and from there things developed as more and more dedicated people got involved.

That victory over Castledaly (1-7 to 0-5) in a replay on 4 November, ’79, was one of the club’s finest achievements until more recent times. They also captured the ’87 Junior Championship by defeating Delvin, again following a replay, after a late Gerry Hickey goal salvaged a draw.

There was always a great Gaelic tradition in the Walshestown area and they won a Junior title in 1952 and after a stint in senior football, a new Shandonagh club emerged in ’68.

It had been disbanded back in the 1920s but after its re-emergence, Shandonagh grew and today the club retains its proud place in the senior grade where they are anxious to remain as a bright future beckons.