History of Westport GAA
The story of Westport GAA club is a proud, unsullied story of devotion to the greatest amateur association in the world. Earliest records suggest that Westport were playing in organised competitions as far back as 1889, when a report in the ‘Tuam News’ of March 29th suggests that Westport defeated Kilmeena on a scoreline of 1-06 to nil. Reports from other newspapers of the time suggest that there was also a GAA team in Murrisk called the ‘Sunbursts’. One of the difficulties in tracing the history of the Westport GAA club is that the name of the team changed on a regular basis. Records suggest that players from Westport all featured on the following teams Westport McHales, Westport Croaghpatricks, Derry Croaghpatricks, Aughagower, Aughagower / Derry, Attyreech Shamrock Rovers, Murrisk Sunbursts, Murrisk / Louisburgh, Westport Quay.
In 1905 we find the first record of a Westport GAA club meeting at which officers were elected and a committee formed. One interesting note from early records suggests that Westport GAA club always had strong representation on the county and national GAA committees something that is still very much to the fore in the club. Major John McBride from Westport Quay was one of the first presidents of the Mayo GAA board and his brother Josie was the first president of the Connacht Council. Josie was also instrumental in organising the game of hurling in Westport.
During the 20’s Attyreech represented the town on the GAA pitches while in the early 30’s it was the Quay that took up the reins. Then in 1936 at a meeting on March 24th in O’Malley’s new Hall all the GAA sections of the parish joined forces and re-organised the Westport GAA club as one unit. The first pitch the club could really call its own was opened in 1958 at a cost of £3000 and appropriately called St. Patrick’s GAA Park.
Over the years Westport have contested 5 senior county football finals ,under different names, with their last appearance coming in 1991 losing to Hollymount 1-6 to 1-2. In 1970 they won the County Junior Championship with a County Senior League Division 1 title following in 1975. Recently the club captured two County Intermediate titles in 2009 and 2016 with the club achieving its finest hour in Croke Park on Sunday 17th February 2017 winning the All Ireland Intermediate title beating St Colmcilles from Meath 2-12 to 3-8. More success has followed with notable firsts achieved in winning the County U21 A title in 2017 and the County Minor A title in 2018.
2017 Footballer of the Year Lee Keegan is our most well known star but now we have 5 players on the county panel and numerous representatives on County U20, Minor and development squads.
From 1925 to 1945 Westport was known as a hurling powerhouse and dominated at every grade. The club promoted both codes equally and allowed players to play football and hurling side-by-side. In 1927 and 1928 Westport were crowned County Senior Hurling champions after great battles with Ballyheane from outside Castlebar. Titles were also won in ‘34, ’36, ’37, ’46, ’50 56 ’62 and ‘64. The last Mayo Senior Hurling Championship won by Westport was in 1969 and 1970 beating Tooreen and Breaffy respectively. In 1983 a new group of ambitious leaders picked up the mantle to drive the hurling club forward and teams have competed admirably ever since.
The first Mayo county title won by a Westport camogie team dates back to 1934. This great feat was repeated 1951 and ‘52 under the name St. Mary’s Camogie Club. Westport won their third senior camogie title in 1981 in McHale Park, when they defeated Crossmolina in a very sporting and competitive match. The final score was Westport 5-02 Crossmolina 4-01.
In 2008 Westport Camogie Club was revived with a renewed interest in the game locally. The Club’s members have grown significantly since 2008, with over 160 players registered today. History was made by the Westport Camogie Féile na nGael Squad in 2015 when they captured the Division 4 Shield title in Ulster. . In the 2017 competition, the Westport camogie team won the Division 6 Shield title in Kilkenny. Many of the Westport camogie players who experienced success at Féile with their club went on to win All Ireland Titles with the County U14 and & U16 Squads.
In 2003 Westport Ladies Gaelic Football Club was founded by Ann Baynes with help from Brian Kilkelly, Denis Harrington, Tony Keane, Aileen Magnier and Una Quinn. Over the years the club have had many successes winning county titles in all age groups. At adult level the club won the Intermediate title in 2009 and last year in 2018 where they went on to contest the Connacht Final. Westport LGFC is the largest ladies club in the county providing over 400 members with football starting with U6s up to Senior level and Gaelic 4 Mothers & Others. Westport players represent the club on many county teams with club captain Noirin Moran on the Mayo Senior Panel for many years now.