There are no records to indicate when Gaelic games were first played in Loughinisland, the local newspapers feature reports of
games in which Loughinisland teams participated from 1906 onwardsbut no official records of the club exist until well into the
sixties. Tradition however indicates that games of hurling and football were played much earlier, in the 1890's, though probably
prior to affiliation and there are those in the parish who can remember Gaelic games being played in Loughinisland as early as
1902, when matches were played in McMullan's Meadow. In 1906 Loughinisland also had a hurling team.
In the very early days men like Hugh McNamara, Fr. O'Neill, Hugh McCaffrey, Peter Doran and Pat Rogan were stalwarts of the
Throughout the 1900's, 20's and 30's the club participated in the East Down Football leagues and in the Down Senior championships,
while league successes were obtained, championship success proved elusive though Loughinisland were beaten semi-finalists on at least
one occasion. Around 1924, Pat Mason and Hugh McNamara were instrumental in keeping the club on its feet. In that year football
matches were played at O'Tooles. The team then was:
A. Steel P. Mason, H. McKee, P. Walsh, B. Kerr, J. McKee, J. McCormack, E. Kerr, H. Rice, J. Creanny, B. Trainor, S. O'Toole, B.
Josephine O'Toole, later to become Sister Francis was secretary.
Hurling was played periodically until the 1940's but the main focus of the club was football which has been played almost
continuously throughout this century with only two periods when no club was affiliated. In 1927 the club moved to a field in Annadoran
belonging to Ed. O'Toole, which was to be their home for ten years until unfortunately the club ceased to be. It took the efforts of
Hugh O'Toole and Bobby Madine to re-establish it in 1942. For four years this team played in a field belonging to Rosaleen Kennedy, but
an exodus of players to other local clubs like Ballynahinch and particularly Magheralone, caused the club to fold between the years
1947 - 1950. There was always a strong affinity between the areas of Loughinisland and Magheralone, being at one time part of the same
parish, and throughout the years players from this area have figured prominently in Loughinisland teams.
Hugh O'Toole, aided by Hugh McNamara (Junior) set the wheels in motion again, with the reforming of the present club in 1950
comprising of a nucleus of senior players who had been with Ballynahinch joined with a group of young players. Young Hugh
McNamara, as well as holding a permanent place on the Down county senior team for a decade, he was also an able administrator and the
club affairs were put on such a sound basis that they have never lapsed since.
The young players in this new club were the products of a successful underage policy which had commenced in 1949 led by Mick
McCabe. Mick put together one of the best schoolboy teams ever to come from a rural parish. This team won the first ever East Down
Schoolboy's League organised by Bro. Anthony in 1949-50. In 1952 this same team went on to win the club's first ever County Minor
Championship, beating a strong Newry team in the final. At adult level this team strengthened by such stalwarts as Hugh and Gerry
McNamara, Desmond Mason, Eddie Rodgers Harry and Raymond McMullan, Mick McCashin, Martin Walsh, Ted Nixon and the Madines, went on to
win the County Junior Championship in 1954, the East Down ntermediate League in 1956, and the Junior Championship again in
1958, defeating Dromara in the final.
Having lost Senior status in 1958 the club played throughout the 1960's in East Down Junior and Intermediate football, until 1968
when, having seen out another period of decline, the club gained promotion to the All County League "C". In 1969 the club reclaimed
its Senior status, which it has retained ever since with considerable success in league and championship. Another County
Minor Championship final was reached in 1964 this time with defeat to Newry Shamrocks with a score of 1-7 to 0-6.
In 1970 the underage policy again bore fruit with the club’s second ever win in the County Minor Championship.
The Loughinisland team:
Dennis Magorrian, Dermot Kelly, Patsy Shields, Joe Gibney, Kevin Flynn, Fergus Davey, Terry McComish, Gerry O’Prey, Terry
McCabe, Kieran O’Toole (capt.), Paul Flannagan, Pat Gibney, Gerry Kelly, Sean Brennan, Gerry Brennan, subs: Brendan Flynn, Kieran
This team defeated Newry Shamocks in extra time of a replay with a final score of 2-9 to 1-10.
By 1971 the senior team had progressed to Division One and strengthened by these young players Loughinisland were undoubtedly
one of the top teams in Down throughout the seventies.
Under the management of Eamon O'Toole they fought their way to three successive Down Senior Championship finals in 1972, 73, and 74,
only to suffer defeat on each occasions. In 1972 it was defeat to Downpatrick losing 2-5 to 0-8, then for two consecutive years victory went to a Bryansford side who had dominated the early seventies, winning the Ulster title twice,
Loughinisland lost in 1973 by 0-16 to 1-7 and in 1974 by 3-5 to 0-8.
Despite these heart-breaking defeats they were back in the final in 1975, under the management of Donal Davey. In this hard fought and exciting game Loughinisland defeated Rostrevor by the narrowest of margins 1-7 to 0-9.
Rostrevor got their revenge a year later in the Semi-Final winning by a single point after Gerry O'Prey, wearing a brand new
pair of boots, missed a late penalty. Rostrevor then went on to pick up their first S.F.C. title by defeating Warrenpoint in the final.
Further frustration for the Blues came a year later with another Semi-Final defeat by a single point this time to the old enemy and
again the eventual champions Bryansford.
The decade ended on a high however, with the opening in 1979 of St. Macartans Park with changing rooms and social facilities on the
Brendan ‘Bundy’ Mason was by far the greatest Loughinisland star of this decade. His prolific scoring feats with both Down and
Loughinisland earned him the honour of then being the youngest ever nominee to the All-Star awards before winning a National League
title in 1983. In 2004 Bundy was named along with Donal Gordon, a midfield master of the Loughinisland side in the seventies, as two
of the all time best fifteen players in Down who had never won an All Ireland title.
After many years in the first division, 1984 saw the senior team being relegated to Division Two, whilst the reserve team were
winning their first championship title.
However in 1985 managed by Pat O’Hare the Firsts won the Division Two league championship and lost to Burren in the County
Championship final. Impressive wins over Castlewellan, Rostrevor and Longstone in the previous rounds with Bundy scoring an amazing 4-15
out of a total of 8-33, set up the encounter but an exceptional Burren side proved to strong, the final score 0-10 to 0-5. This team
featured the Mason brothers, Kieran, Damian, and a young Gary, in the first of many important finals he would grace. The youngest
Colin won an All Ireland Minor medal with Down in 1987.
In the same way that Bryansford dominated the early seventies Burren completely dominated the eighties much to Loughinisland’s
In 1986 Loughinisland Seniors won their first Division One title. But the highlight of the 1986 season was the quarter final of the
county championship when the team took All-Ireland Club Champions Burren to a second replay before losing.
This time as All Ireland winners for the second time, Burren again defeated Loughinisland in the 1988 Championship final (1-10 to
0-7). At this time the team was managed by Jimmy Brennan and Gerry O’Prey. The final was a tense and tight affair with the ever
reliable Gary Mason missing a penalty and the most senior out field player on the pitch John Killen awarded Man of the Match. Players
such as Ted Nixon, Michael and Seamus McGlew and Terry O’Toole were the backbone of this team.
However the following year would turn out to be the greatest in the club's history so far. In 1989 Bryansford were comfortably
defeated in the Championship Final by 1-12 to 0-7 and a second Division One title was added to the trophy cabinet. This squad was
managed by Pat Gibney, captained by Noel McCarthy, often relied heavily on the individual brilliance of Bundy Mason, with the tower
of strength that was John Trainer up front and the future All Ireland winning forward Gary Mason at full back. With local
newspapers mourning the loss of All Ireland holders Burren as county representatives, the Loughinisland team then went on to equit
themselves well in the Ulster Championship, defeating Kingscourt and then, despite a great performance in the rain and mud, by Damian
Mason in particular, losing in the semi final to Scotstown who went on to win the title.
The early to mid 1990's were quiet years for the club apart from the seconds team capturing the Reserve Championship in 1991 and the
firsts team earning Division One runners up medals in 1995. In 1991 and 1994, Loughinisland was honoured to have a club member in the
Down All-Ireland winning teams, Gary Mason, who continues to play an integral part in the senior squad today, on and off the pitch. After
twelve years in the top division the club was relegated in 1998 to Division Two.
The end of the nineties also saw the introduction of the first ever Ladies Football team in Loughinisland quickly bringing success
with the 1998 Down Ladies League Division Two.
A Division One place was regained by the Senior team at the end of 2005 following almost 3 years in Division 2, success over
Downpatrick and Warrenpoint were sufficient to move the Senior teamback into the top division. With Brendan Mason, Geard Martin and
Paddy Doran managing the Senior team, the club are optimistic the 2006 season will see the senior team establish itself once again in
the top flight.
In the new millennium the ladies have brought the majority of the success with, the 2000 Junior league and championship double, the
2002 Intermediate championship, 2003 Intermediate league runners up, and in 2004 another double the Intermediate League and the
Intermediate Championship again, defeating Clonduff in the final. The women's team seems to get stronger and stronger every year, and
many have taken on important roles in the administration and fund raising for the club.
From 2000 to 2005, Eamon O'Toole was Chairman of the Down GAA County Board - former Club manager and Chairman, the first from the
parish to reach this high office.
Over the years, Loughinisland as a Gaelic Club has experienced many exciting periods, it has provided a roller coaster of emotions
for supporters and players alike. It has come though the toughest of times, a bigger and better club, and as we start the 21st century,
we aim to build upon this history and ensure the young people of Loughinisland will be playing Gaelic games for many more years to