Club History

This brief history of the club was compiled with the help of club man Jerry Henry.

The club's history, with 130 years in the making, would fill a book - and indeed it has.

However, great thanks is due to Jerry for his synopsis of this history into the following list of key milestones and bullet points which we hope will give the reader a good over-view of the significant and proud history of Castlebar Mitchels GAA Club.

• Castlebar Mitchels Club was formed on the 11th December, 1885

• It is almost certain that Mitchels took their from John Mitchel the Young Ireland leader who was banished to Tasmania in 1848 after being found guilty of treason

• The title used for the first chairman of the club was "captain"

• The first committee members came from diverse social backgrounds such as prison wardens, British Army, doctors and shop boys who all had the one wish to play Gaelic Football

• After the formation of Castlebar Mitchels the club colours were green and yellow

• The number of players on teams in the early years varied between 16 and 22

• Mitchels won their first Mayo senior championship title in 1888 and the captain of the winning team was Thomas J Kelly

• In the early years counties were represented in the All-Ireland championship by the club champions

• After the formation of the club, games were played at various locations including Pidgeon Park where Scoil Raifteiri is today

• Mitchels next county title was in 1903

• There was a 27 year wait for the third title victory in 1930 and this team was captained by Mattie Flannelly

• The highest score recorded in a county senior final was by the Mitchels in 1952 when they scored 6 goals and 10 points

• The glory decade for the Mitchels was the 1950's when they won seven senior county titles

• There were seven Mitchels players on the first Mayo minor team to contest an All-Ireland final in 1930

• The search to acquire their own playing area ended in the late 1920's when the grounds now known as McHale Road were purchased.

• McHale Park was officially opened on the 24th May, 1931 by the President of the club Fr. Dan Corcoran. Mayo played Kildare on the opening day

• The first Mitchels player to win an All Ireland medal was Jimmy Deffely in 1933 when Mayo won the All-Ireland Junior Final

• There were 4 Mitchels players on the first Mayo minor team to win an All-Ireland in 1935

• Mitchels won their first 3-in-a-row senior county titles between 1930 and 1932

• They won a second 3-in-a-row 1944-1946

• Mitchels won 5-in-a-row 1950-1954

• When Mayo made the historic breakthrough in 1936 to win their first All-Ireland Senior Championship they were backboned by Mitchels players Tom Burke, Paddy Quinn, Patsy Flannelly, Jim 'Tot' McGowan, Paddy Moclair, Henry Kenny and Josie Munnelly

• Josie Munnelly holds the unique distinction (and unlikely ever to be equalled) of having won 12 county senior football medals

• Josie Munnelly captained Mitchels to six county senior titles in the 1940's and 1950's

• Two club players, Mick Flynn and Josie Munnelly, hold the rare distinction of having won five-in-a-row county senior championship medals between 1950 and 1954

• Four Mitchels players, Tommy Byrne, Eamon Mongey, Mick Flanagan and Peter Solan (Peter a native of Islandeady), played pivotal roles as Mayo won back to back All-Ireland senior football titles in 1950 and 1951.

• John Egan holds the distinction of being the only Mitchels player to captain three consecutive county senior championship winning teams in 1930-31-32

• When Mitchels won the county senior hurling championship in 1904 Pat Cotter, age 14, scored 2 goals and 5 points

• In the first 40 years of existence Mitchels won more county senior hurling titles (5) than county senior football championships(2)

• In 1960 Mitchels became the first GAA club in Ireland to fly to the USA on tour. They had a most enjoyable trip to Chicago

• 1960 saw the revival of the hurling, camogie and handball clubs

• In 1961 one of the greatest all time Mitchels players, double All-Ireland winner Mick Flanagan died at the age of 32.

• Mick Ruane won an All-Ireland senior colleges medal with St.Nathy’s in 1958

• James Quinn won an All-Ireland minor medal with Mayo in 1971 and Michael Mullaghy was a member of the 1985 winning team

• Mickey Feeney and Brian Kilkelly won All-Ireland U-21 medals in 1983

• Henry Gavin captained Mayo to the Connacht Senior title in 1985

• In 1978 An Sportlann was official opened by the President of the GAA Con Murphy

• In 1979-Gerry McDonald-one of the greatest ever clubman and the driving force behind the development of An Sportlann died suddenly

• 197l saw the formation of a Bord na nÓg within the club

• Ray Prendergast was the winning captain of the 1969 and 1970 county championship teams at the early age of 42 in February, 1982

Compiled by Jerry Henry February 2010


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