Hurling in the 19th Century

Kilnamona's hurling club was established in 1887. Their first recorded game took place on 20th Feb 1887. Ruan were the opponents and Kilnamona ran out winners by 1-1 to 0-2. They had a rematch some weeks later. The Saturday Record describes the scene:

"At 2 p.m. the young men of Kilnamona made their appearance. They were hailed with ringing and vociferous cheers by the vast multitude of people assembled at the quaint old village of Ruan. they were glad to participate in the revival of this favourite pastime...When the specified time for hurling had elapsed, Ruan had scored 1 goal and 3 points, and the Kilnamona men one goal and two points, thus showing a decisive victory for for the Ruan hurlers, after one of the best contested hurling games that even the oldest man in in the parishes of Ruan and Kilnamona ever witnessed" [1].

The second round of the 1887 county championship saw Kilnamona take on Kilfenora. After an hour and forty minutes hurling had elapsed, Kilnamona emerged the winners on a score of 2-8 to 1-1. Kilfenora claimed the reason they lost was that their best players were unable to attend [2].

Tournaments were very prominent in these formative years of the GAA. An example was the Lahinch Tournament of 1887.

A letter writer to the Saturday Record of October 22, 1887 recounts the athletics sports day at Lahinch Racecourse. Football and hurling teams from Miltown, Broadford, Inagh, Kilmaley, Ruan, Ennis, Crusheen, Dysart and Rath all competed. Kilmaley got the better of Kilnamona in the hurling. The sports day was enlivened by sideshows such as the wheel of fortune, shooting rings and merry go rounds. The proprietor of one of the card tables was "the famous Jack fact the leading celebrity of Ennistymon". The letter writer was glad to report that "there was no drunkenness, no fighting, nothing in fact to disturb the harmony of the day's amusement" [3].

Two games are recorded in 1888. Kilnamona took on Rath and Kilnaboy at Fountain. Kilnamona winning the game easily on a score of 3-6 to no score [4]. They also appeared at the Gaelic Sports day held at Slaveen Hill, Inch; Kilnamona beat Inch on a scoreline of 1-1 to a single point [5].

Many games at this time were dogged by objections and games were frequently won and lost at County Board meetings. One such case, in relation to Kilnamona, was recorded in the August 27, 1898 Clare Man. At the meeting, held in Ruan, Kilnamona, represented by Jack Power, lodged an objection against Tulla over a disputed point claimed by Kilnamona. Sadly, however, the Board upheld the referee's decision!

As the century drew to a close, Kilnamona's hurling glory days lay just ahead. The first decade of the 20th century was to prove enormously successful.

  1. March 19, 1887 Saturday Record
  2. April 30, 1887 Saturday Record
  3. October 22, 1887 Saturday Record
  4. April 14, 1888 Saturday Record
  5. February 23, 1888 Saturday Record