History of Cavan Gaels

Despite the relatively early success of the club on the playing fields, many problems faced the newly formed club, not least of which was the lack of training facilities and it was quite obvious from the start that the purchase of club grounds must be treated as a matter of urgency.

On November 1st 1963, the Showgrounds was purchased from the Cavan Agricultural Society for £1000 after a lot of delicate negotiations.

Park Handover

Photo shows the official handing over of the keys of the old Showgrounds by the late Mr. P.N.Smith Solr. to Cavan Gaels Chairman Paddy Conaty. Also included in this photograph are from left Brendan Dunne (R.I.P.), Benny Cafferty (R.I.P.), Tommy Hughes, Sean Galligan, Maurice Brady (R.I.P.), T.M.Gilroy (R.I.P.), Paddy O’Reilly, Richard Black (R.I.P.), A.J. Timmons (R.I.P.).

On the Showgrounds site two playing pitches were developed, a main pitch and a practice field. It was decided to call the park, the Terry Coyle Memorial Park, in honour of the late Terry Coyle (1909-1944), a member of the Cavan 1933 All-Ireland winning football team, who lived nearby.

Terry Coyle

Terry Coyle

Terry Coyle Memorial Park was officially opened on Sunday May 24th 1970 by the late Séamus O’Riain, Vice-President of the G.A.A. Following this, Cavan Gaels played the then county champions Crosserlough and Cavan faced Kerry, the All Ireland champions at the time in an inter-county friendly.

September 1979 saw the completion of the second phase of the development of Terry Coyle Park with the building of a dressing room complex, a covered stand to accommodate 500 spectators, two dugouts, a jogging track, floodlighting of the playing area, a turnstile area and the erection of walls at the entrance and around the car park.

Great credit is due to the men, most of whom no longer with us, who had the vision foresight and strength of character to effect this amalgamation back in 1957. It was an inspired decision which has borne fruit many times.

Club Officers 1970

Club Officers 1970
Back row [l-r]: Tommy hughes, PJ Carroll, Seamus Caffrey; Front row [l-r]: Niall Crowe, TM Gilroy, Maurice Brady

Club Crest

Club Logo

Club Crest

Our club crest came into existence in 1984 when all clubs in the country were asked as part of the G.A.A.’s Centenary year to design their own club crest. Central to our crest is the Fransciscan Abbey, an important landmark in our town and the interlocking of the letters H and S which illustrate the merging of the two existing town clubs, Cavan Harps and Cavan Slashers into one town club, Cavan Gaels in 1957.




Poems to Honour the Club

This poem was written by Tom Kelly, Drumnavanagh, to honour the first Cavan Gaels team to win the Senior Championship in 1965. Tom was very involved in the club over the years in different positions both in hurling and football. This is one of many poems he penned over the years with a G.A.A. theme.

Here’s a tribute to the Cavan Gaels who won the Co. Cup,
They showed ‘The Doubting Diehards’ that they too had the stuff;
When they met and beat the ‘Shamrocks’, a great team of renown,
And brought the Plunkett trophy once more back to Cavan town.

In goal was ageless ‘Foley’ Rourke who is with them now so long,
But he still can stop the bullets or oblige you with a song;
The full back line is Colm Smith, Brian Tighe and Donal Crowe,
They showed us from the very start that they did fear no foe.

At centre half Pat Gaffney, sure he played a leading part,
And his solo’s up the middle gave his team new heart;
He got great support from Scobie Carroll, a wing back who can fly,
And McGovern on the other side can take balls from the sky.

At centre field JackMcEntee and the peerless JimMcDonnell,
Made one wonder if in fact we were watching MickO’Connell;
They fielded high, they fielded safe, they were a joy to behold,
For years to come of Jack and Jim great stories will be told.

Danny Thomas on the forty, his praises will be sung,
With P.J.Carroll on the wing and that veteran who is Young.
All played their parts and did their best, they are tough, alert and speedy,
And they gave great service to their ‘fulls’, Terry Smith, Maguire, Reidy.

But in our joy let’s not forget the men of ’41,
Tom Meehan, Coyle, and Conaty great sportsmen every one,
It matters not how long the wait or how long you may have taken,
You won the cup in ’65 and young blood you will awaken.

This next poem was written by Tommy Monaghan to mark the club’s achievement in winning the 2001 Cavan Senior Championship Final. Tommy is a former Cavan Gaels player now residing in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin. His father the late Eugene Monaghan, Main St., Cavan was a founder-member of the Cavan Gaels club, and played an active role in the club’s formation down the years. Tommy wrote the ‘ode’ to commemorate a great victory for the Cavan town club in the Senior Championship Final against Gowna, when Tommy was in attendance along with many former playing members and officials of the club, many of whom are mentioned throughout the text. He came away from the game proud to be a Cavan Gaels man, knowing that his former club was in good hands with the present generation of players, who did themselves and their club proud on this occasion.


Come sit down and listen to me young McGlade
I sat in the stand and watched how you played.
If we met on the street sure we’d not know each other
And yet, young Shane, you are my brother
I could light up your day with many good tales
Of the family we belong to, the great Cavan Gaels.
Of men who played back to year ’58
And who watched you young Gaels leave Gowna prostrate.

Was your friend Darren aware as he soared so high
That cheering him on was Tavey, Thomas and Tighe.
Did Eoghan Elliott know as he saved that bender
It was ‘Foley’ Rourke that was shouting ‘Aha, no surrender!’
When Fergal Brady caught that great ball at the post
I’m telling you Shane I did see a ghost.
He was smiling at Fergal his lips said ‘well done!’
Then he just disappeared saying ‘That’s my grandson!’

Darting Doonan and Crotty just drove Gowna silly.
That wasn’t thunder you heard it was ‘Polo Grounds Willy’
As he looked down on James and that player so wily
Centre half supreme, the dynamic Reilly.
Poems composed to honour famous victories

In that stormy second half as the Gowna men hit,
You were watched by Galligan, Keogan and Terry Smith.
Men who have travelled from places afar
To see a display that was without par.

When we took control in the middle you might have heard our cheers ring
At the royal performance of the one who is King.
Cathal beside him on excellence bordered.
Definitely just ÖÖ what the doctor ordered.
Tell me now young McGlade did your forwards find it frightening
To be watched by such stalwarts as ‘Inky’ and ‘Lightning’
Sitting there also was hero unsung
A Gaels man to the core, the veteran called Young.

You’ll agree young McGlade that your forwards did well again.
As the champs tried to cope with Duffy and Nelligan.
O’Donnell, Leddy and Buggy turned on the style
With an A-Level performance from sharpshooter Niall.
Mickey Graham that piece of human elastic
On the day, he was simply Captain Fantastic.
It had to be agreed by all high and low
It was a glorious achievement for J.J. and Joe.

Ready to race in and up on their toes
Was Reilly, McCormick, two Smiths and two Crowes.
There were two extra Grahams, Jonathan and Pat.
Poor Gowna might as well have thrown in the hat.
There were many old Gaels there, Shane, let me say,
Kelly, Looney, McVitty, P.J. and Fay,
Noel Smith, Dominic Sheridan and by hook or by crook
All the way from Lovely Leitrim, Fr. Mickey Cooke.

You didn’t see him young McGlade but with every Gaels’ score
A cheshire grin appeared on the face of Maurice Hoare
Non did you know the cause of that terrible flurry
It was the arrival of the queen, the bauld Bridgy Murray.
Packie Kiernan was smiling although he’d lost out
He looked like a man who had never been in doubt
That you young McGlade and all of the rest
On the 30th of September would be ‘simply the best!’

At the final whistle Paddy Conaty looked up to heaven
Remembering how it started way back in ’57
I’d swear he saw Maurice and Eugene look down
And bespectacled Gilroy with his everlasting frown.
So now young McGlade if we ever do meet
In the pub or in the Park or just on the street.
We’ll sit down and talk and exchange a few tales
Like two brothers who belong to the great ‘Cavan Gaels’.

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