Back Row left to right: Paddy Sheridan, Joe Kilgallon, John McGrath, Mattie McNicholas, Paddy O’Neill, Christy Durcan and Mick Conwell
Front Row: Brendan Keane, Vincent Hession, John Flannery, Johnny Maye, Mickey Walsh, Eugene McNicholas, Martin Coleman (Missing Mylie Molloy)
Kilmaine G.A.A. Club was founded on the 9th of March, 1937.
The first meeting of Kilmaine GAA club was held in Durcan’s carthouse on 9th of March 1937, in candle-light. In attendance were: Padraic Hyland, Sonny Burke, Jim Durcan, Tom Durcan, Mick Kelly, Jim Henneghan, Paddy McDonnell, Peter McHale, Johnny Molloy, Mick McHale, Paddy Curran, Charlie Cunnane, Jim Kelly and Christy Durcan.
The following officers were elected; Chairman: Padraic Hyland, Secretary; Christy Durcan, Treasurer: Mick Kelly, Delegates to The South Mayo Board: Paddy Curran & Charlie Cunnane. At the first meeting it was decided to register the club with the County board. The registration fee was 12/6. In order to raise the registration fee funds, it was agreed to hold a raffle. First prize was £1 10s. Second prize £1.00 Also 10s to the seller of winning ticket.
Ticket price was 6d each. Paddy Curran & Charlie Cunnane attended the next meeting of the South Mayo Board, cycling to Claremorris at which the club was registered.
The first competitive game ever played by a Kilmaine team was against Castlegar (Claremorris), in Curran’s field. One of the biggest crowds ever to attend a sporting event in the parish, watched the game. After a thrilling encounter Kilmaine were defeated by a single point.
Development Of Kilmaine Community Ground
The Kilmaine Community Council was founded in May, 1982. It’s main purpose & objectives was to provide facilities for the parish & it’s people, which were unattainable at that time. In the event of all present at it’s inaugural meeting it was observed the most significant necessity for the locality was a community Sports Ground, which would be readily available to the public & people of the Parish. With this in mind the Community Council set about it’s work. At that same time word had broke that the Burke Estate had been taken over by the Land Commission. A deputation was soon formed and went to the Irish land Commission office in Castlebar to put a case forward to be included in the dividing of those lands when it would emanate.
This assignment was very well received & the case got a very approbative reception, on the essence that this was a project which would be beneficial to everybody in the local society. The next step in acquiring these grounds was to raise finance and have it at their disposal for the purchasing & developing of the land, from the Irish Land Commission. It was decided to hold a "Mayor of Kilmaine" election and the following five candidate’s were elected for the contest; Malachy Flanagan, P.J. McGrath, Gerald Keane, Jackie O’Connor & Mrs Helen Macken. After a very industrious and financially- rewarding campaign the results were as follows: Mrs. Helen Macken, 14,780 votes, having collected £7.389.75; Gerald Keane, 12,742 votes and £ 6,370.77. P.J. McGrath 9,540 votes and £4,770.43, Jackie O’Connor 2,033 votes and £1,016.50, Malachy Flanagan 1,400 votes and £700, giving a grand total of £20,247.45 for the project. Mrs Helen Macken was soon declared the elected Mayoress of Kilmaine.
The purchasing of the land & Right of way access from the Kilmaine/Ballinrobe road was now inevitable and quickly became a reality. The total cost of the right of way & land was £10,300. Development leveling, & materializing of the ground was soon under way. The majority of materials were paid for, from the Mayor fund collection kitty. In order to augment more capital for the evolution & prosperity of the pitch- developments, the community council organised a 300 club members draw. This enterprise hoisted £8,495.
Once the land was developed the Community Council were instrumental in successfully seeking an ANCO scheme in the autumn of 1986. The purpose of the scheme was to provide labour for the growth & progression of the pitch. In 1986 when 30,000 people left this country for unemployment reasons, this was seen as a major coup by the council committee. It goes without saying that these Community grounds would never have been accomplished without the founding of the Kilmaine Community Council, the ANCO group, & in particular the voluntarily & diligent workers who dedicated unlimited time & effort to see this project achieve it’s goals & objectives. From stone picking to painting & decorating there were many hands available to give willingly to see this adventure & strategy obtained. All types of fund raising took place from 25 card drives, raffles, church gate collections & not to forget handsome donations to make this venture feasible. Long summer evenings were spent on the grounds at will where great banter was had among all the locals resulting in high Community spirit & continuity. Each & everyone looked on the development with great enthusiasm & confidence. Word on the street was Kilmaine were on the up. With a new pitch in place there was no stopping us now, County titles would be imminent!!! Two years previous to the opening of the pitch Kilmaine had won the Intermediate County final in 1985. Unfortunately unemployment & emigration had an adverse effect on the club at that time.
The Kilmaine grounds were realized in the Spring of 1987, some 5 years after the inaugural meeting took place. It was officially opened on May 31st 1987 by our Mayoress Mrs. Helen Macken. On the morning of the opening, several under age games were organized amongst ourselves to give everybody a kick-about. The main event of the day was the meeting of Mayo versus Meath in a friendly game, to officially open, & give the people of Mayo a gaze of our new grounds.
Kilmaine Community can now boast having one of the most impressive grounds in Mayo. In the 1990’s Kilmaine were lucky to have such enthusiastic leaders on the council & on the GAA board who worked tirelessly to build a new stand. The ambition of both parties here in this regard was to provide a modern terrace with a good view & shelter to all aspects of the pitch. A new set of dug-outs soon followed on the opposite side of the stand. It was felt with the new stand in place, aspects to certain areas of the pitch from the old dug-outs were restricted.
Kilmaine parish is indebted to the CC at that time Fr. Michael Joyce who was one of the main instigators in getting this project off the ground. Fr. Michael was high spirited, passionate, and eager to promote new initiatives. Others such as Gerald Keane, Tom Doherty, Eamon Mulderrig & John Joe Duffy (RIP) to get involved in the initial committee must be congratulated also. It is with great endeavor by these people, just to mention a few why we can be proud of the pitch & facilities we have developed today.