Founded in 1888 as Clady Healy’s and were represented at the 1st Armagh County Board meeting 24th March 1889 by A.J. Vallely, Cladymilltown. A long break occurred until Kevin Barry GFC 1930-1940, the Shamrocks 1945-1950 and then came Sean Souths GFC 1957.
There are records of a team from Clady contesting the county Championship before the County Board was set up back as far as 1880/90’s. Back then it was mostly matches contested between parishes and districts. The first County Board meeting back on the 24th March 1889 show that the Clady Healy’s were represented by A J Vallely, Cladymilltown
It was about 1912 when a team was registered and were know as “Kilcluney Faugh-a-Ballagh”. Again on record it says that a Dance was held in Michael Raffertys and the monies lifted from that dance went towards buying football boots. But it wasn’t until about 1916 / 1917 that the teams got to play consistent football.
Then there was a bit of a lull with young men going away to work and those left behind dispersed to neighbouring teams. It wasn’t till about 1923/24 that another Clady team appeared. It appears that they played in a tournament and that the prize for winning, was a new football. The Clady team won the competition beating a team from Armagh in the final. It was captained by Johnny Lennon, whom went on to play for Armagh at Senior and Junior grades. After this success it was decided that the Clady men were good enough to play football in the county league. Although it was made up of men from the parish including those of Granemore and Ballymacnab they went under the jurisdiction of Clady. Shortly after it was decided to affiliate the three areas and were then known as the “Kevin Barrys”. The Kevin Barrys team lasted up to 1940 and they had the honour of winning the Mac Oscar Cup 1934-35. (pic left).
Gaelic football made a comeback in the Clady area again in 1944 and were known as “ The Shamrocks ” They fielded a team in the South Armagh League. That old enemy of emigration called a halt to the Shamrocks team in 1949 with their last game been played on the 15th August of that year. This meant men at home had to travel to neighbouring clubs to play their football.
In 1957, on the first Sunday in April a group of interested men stopped at the hall with the sole purpose to form a club in Clady again. A collection was taken up at the meeting of 10/- (10 schillings) each, to buy jerseys, a football and administration fees and therefore forming Clady Sean Sabhat.
In their first year they failed to win a competitive game, but in 1958 the team (pic right) was strengthened with the transfers of home grown players who were with other clubs at this stage. That season they qualified for the Top 4 playoffs as league winners, but unfortunately were beaten in the semis. Also that year they were beaten by Granemore in the final of the Mid-Division Championship on a score line 2-07 to 1-06. 1959 saw the club reach the Mid-Division final again, only to be defeated by Armagh Harps by 3 points after a replay. For the 1960-64 period, the club continually struggled to field a side, and credit was due to the hard working officials who managed to keep football alive. 1965 saw the clubs first major success winning the South Armagh league.
When the All County Leagues were formed in 1966, Clady were nominated in Division 3, due to them being south Armagh Champions. That opening season saw them finishing third.
The New Field
Emigration struck again and resulted in the club sliding into Division 4 for the ’68 and ’69 seasons. In 1969 the committee of Sean Sabhat GFC Clady made enquiries about purchasing a new field. Pat Loughran was approached about a football field. He agreed to sell this field knowna s “Connolly’s Big Meadow” for the same price as he purchased it, which was 6.5 acres at £700.In 1972, Tommy McArdle (Snr) and Vincent Lamph approached Jim Mallaghan about a field containing half an acre situated at the corner of the “Big Meadow”. This deal was sealed that year for the sum of £500. Over the next number of years all works were carried out voluntary. Each stage was paid for as it was completed. The start of the 70’s saw big changes for the club on the football front, 1970 saw them winning the Division 4 league, then gaining promotion to Division 2 in 1973. The following year, again we gained promotion to the elite of Division 1. Sadly to say this was a short stay as nine of the players quitting the team with emigration and injuries. With a small club like ours and a small pick of players we couldn’t cope and relegation followed in ’75 and ’76. During April of’76 saw the club play their first match on their own new pitch against Silverbridge. 1977 saw the return of a few exiles and hopes were high again, thus resulting the team lifting the Mac Oscar Cup by beating a strong and more fancied St. Pauls team in The Junior championship Final by a scoreline 0-13 to 1-06.This year also seen success for our U-14 team when they won the South Armagh Cup. 1979 saw the club again relegated to Division 4 as a result of the founding of Mullabrack GFC and the loss of six players.
Unfortunately during the ‘80s the club remained in the lower division with only the occasionally good run in local tournaments to lift the spirits. In 1981 saw Clady Hall rebuilt and converted into a GAA Club. Also work continued at our playing facilities with the erection of fencing, building of changing rooms, viewing embankment for spectators. This was all highlighted on the 1st October 1989 with the official opening by Fr. Dan Gallogly of the Ulster Council.
The start of the ‘90s proved more promising with the club winning the Division 4 league. But the highlight was winning the Junior Championship in 1992 beating Tullysarran in the final and seeing the Mac Oscar Cup return to Clady after 15 years. More work continued at the playing facilities by extending the viewing embankment, the erection of floodlights and toilet facilities. 1994 saw us runners up in the league and back into Division 2 football again. By the end of the following season we were relegated from the playoffs and with a reconstruction of the league format, saw the team back in the fourth. In the season of ’97 saw the team obtain the Divison 4 shield competition. Another lengthy period passed before any major honours were brought back into the club and wasn’t until 2006 with our senior team winning the Division 4 league undefeated, along with the Mid Armagh Shield Competition and the Boyle Cleary Cup (pic right). In 2007 that young and committed side also went on to reach the Junior championship final only to be narrowly defeated by Collegeland.
During the ‘90s also saw the club raise the profile of underage football and were able to field teams at various age groups from U-12 to Minor level. Results were not the best at first with a lot of heavy defeats, but now and again managed to win an odd league like in 1992 at U-12’s and in 1997, 2004 & 2006 at U16’s. With two of them u-16 teams (1997&2006) reaching a championship final defying all odds. It was also in 2005 that the club have been able to field a team at every age level from U-10 to Minor. With the excellent work of our coaches the club has seen some of these players go forward onto the County Development Squads and then onto the County Minor, U-21 and senior teams. With the large amount of young children in the area we have successfully run summer camps from 2003 with the assistance of some Armagh County Players. This Coaching contributed to the u-10’s recent success of winning both the Mid Armagh shield and plate in 2007.
The club in the past has also managed to field ladies teams with the first back in 1989. This team stayed together for about four years as a lot of them got married. It wasn’t till 2003 that a team reappeared and has since seen teams been fielded at underage levels also. Again success was limited with the senior teams winning Division 2 league in 1991 and in 2006 they were runners up in the Divison 3 league behind St. Peters of lurgan. Since this the Senior Ladies panel has dispersed due to lack of numbers but there will surely be a future team with ladies football constantly growing within the club at underage level.
Our Club has seen success for some of our club referees over the years as Arthur loughran and Vincent Savage were both honoured with trips to Amercia in ’78 and ’81 for there services. Vincent also had a lot of other honours with him refereeing an Ulster U21 final in 1975 between Antrim and Tyrone, numerous national league games in this era. At local level he was in charge of an Intermediate final in 1969 and in ’78 was in charge of the Senior championship final between Clan na Gael and Carrickcrupppen. This year also seen Vincent nominated for Referee of the Year for Armagh.
The club has seen other advances for some of our members at administration levels over the years with Sean Gallogly been elected onto the Armagh County Board in the ‘70s, and our own club chairman Michael Savage appointed Chairperson of the Mid Board in 2005 and since a reformation of the county board he is now vice chairman of the minor county board.
Other successes that our club members have celebrated dates back to 1935 when John Lennon represented Armagh at both minor and u-21 levels. Barry Mc Geown obtaining a Minor league Medal with Armagh Minors, Nell Gollogy also represented the County Minors in league football, as did Brendan Lennon in the early 1980’s.Certainly a proud moment for the Club was seeing Philip Loughran apart of the Armagh County squad in 2002 winning an All-Ireland Senior Championship Medal, also an All Irelands runners up medal in 2003, 4 x Ulster Senior Chamionship Medals, 1 x National League medal with Armagh Senior team. He also achieved 2 x Railway Cup Medals for Ulster and represented Ireland in the Compromise Rules Series against Australia in 2004. Other honours were with Jordanstown University winning 1 x Siergson Cup Medal, 1 x Freshers Cup and 2 x All Ireland Ryan Cup Medals.
Clady Social Club
When Clady Hall was rebuilt in 1981 and converted into the GAA club, it was run by Vincie Savage. In 1999 a new GAA club was built for the local GAA community around Clady.