Text is taken from ‘Caherlistrane G.A.A. and 150 Years of Parish Life’ by Michael J. Hughes.

The early 1980s brought a new surge of enthusiasm from G.A.A. members and supporters on both the Caherlistrane and Comer Chapel sides of the parish, as they took on a further major programme of building. In 1981 a commitment was made to provide a handball and squash court, games room, meeting rooms, improved dressing rooms and a catering area. A lounge bar was also to be included.

Having made the commitment, a huge outlay on wages and materials had now to be met. The wages problem was partly solved by the involvement of AnCO (the State training authority) in the building work. This involvement also gave work experience and training to local youth.’ But still huge bills remained to be met, for the estimated cost of the 1980s development was £93,000. A £20,000 bank loan was obtained, and a £10,000 Government grant (after much lobbying). Most of the balance was gathered through the usual fund raising activities (card games, discos, prize draws, etc.), and then there was a grand competition among prominent parishioners, with the honorary title of Mayor of Caherlistrane going to the person who raised the most funds. Brendan Gannon was the one to get the mayoral chain.

Brendan Gannon was also chairman of the first Caherlistrane Festival Committee, and the Festival, originally started to raise funds for the Community Centre, has become an annual feature of parish life since the inaugural one of 1980. It has included such varied events as football competitions, tug-of-war contests, tractor skills displays, sheaf tossing, treasure hunts, concerts, open air dancing, band displays and old-time waltz competitions. The Festival has a special attraction for emigrants from the parish home on their annual holidays (the two—week festival usually starts in early August), for it gives them an opportunity to meet old friends and see the parish in festive mood.

The handball court was finished in 1982, and it was officially opened in February of that year by Mr. C. Jones, President of the National Handball Council. 1984, the centenary year of the G.A.A., saw the completion of the much enlarged Community Centre – a monument to parish eo-operation, and standing proud for this and future generations.

On the playing fields in the early 1980s the emphasis was on youth, with Tom Cradock taking on the training of the young players. On his initiative a parish league was started for juveniles, and all the effort involved brought its reward ‘with a notable achievement in l983—the winning of under-14 and under—16 county titles.

The seniors were also doing well in the early eighties and reached the 1981 League Final (Section B). Their opponents were Ballygar, and the game, played in Corofin on Easter Sunday ’82, ended in a draw, with Caherlistrane going on to win the replay in Mountbellew. Following that victory the team were in the top league for 1982, and proved their worth there by going on to the Premier League Final, having won five of their seven matches on the way and getting a draw in another. This time they were playing Dunmore, who won in a replay, having survived in the drawn game which Caherlistrane should have won.

In the summer of ’82, Caherlistrane had a win over Monivea/Abbey in the championship only to go under to Mountbellew, who were beaten by Annaghdown in the County Final. A few weeks before the Final, Caherlistrane beat Annaghdown in the Madden cup.

The team had some consolation for their defeat in ’77 when they beat Corofin in the 1987 senior championship. Many people now fancied Caherlistrane’s chances of taking the county title, and they were favourites against Annaghdown in the next roung. Annaghdown, never an easy team to beat,  had their ex-county player, Tom Naughton, in fine form that day, and he played a big part in Caherlistrane’s surprise defeat, with his team going on to win the county championship again.

Following the disapointment 0f the previous year, hopes were on a better result for ’86. The big game that year was against Mountbellew, and after a drawn game that was there for the taking, they beat Caherlistrane in the replay, and also went on to become county champions.

1987 saw our up-and-coming young footballers win the Minor League, while in the previous year’s senior team were now at intermediate level. But not for long. They were back at senior level in ’88, and went on to take the County League (Division B) title. Then to add to a great year, the minor footballers won their first county championship title.

The parish was well represented on Galway teams during the nineteen seventies and eighties. In 1972 Eamon Monaghan of Prospect was on the county under-21 team. On the opening of our new pitch in 1977, the main feature was a Galway v Mayo senior football match, and there were the following four parish players on the winning home team on that July Sunday: Michael J . Judge (Carrowconlaun), Peter Lee (Ballyfruit), Paddy Joe Dooley (Mirehill) and Paschal Murphy (Wakefield).

Michael Judge, the Galway captain that day, was a regular on the county team by this time, and played in three consecutive Connacht Finals (’76, ’77 and ’78). He won three Connacht Senior Football medals (’76, ’82 and ’83), and played for the province in Railway Cup competition. Peter Lee was also a regular on the Galway senior team, winning Connacht medals in ’82 and ’83, and playing at centre half back position on the team beaten by Dublin in the 1983 All-Ireland Final.

In 1979 the first of the Glynn brothers from Feeragh made his entry into inter-county football when Seamus played in the under-21 Final against Down (the winners). The under-21 Galway team had another Caherlistrane man in ’81 when Denis McHugh from the Comer Chapel side of the parish played with them. Seamus Glynn was there again in ’85 when he played on the Galway junior team that won the All-Ireland that year.

Since the mid-eighties there has been a strong Caherlistrane representation on Galway minor teams. John Mitchell of Castlehackett won an All-Ireland medal in ’86, and the following year he gained a Connacht championship medal, as did Pat Costello of Pollnahallia. In 1988 Pat Costello was joined by John Dooley, while in 1989, as befits County Minor Champions, there were three from the parish on the county team. They were Joe Mitchell, Richie Lydon (captain) and Sean Costello.

At senior level we now have Sean Glynn (brother of Seamus), a regular on Galway teams in the late 1980s, playing in comer back position.

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