GAA Dunmanway, the home of the Dohenys G.A.A. Club, is situated 38 miles west of Cork city, where the land becomes rugged and mountains dominate the skyline. It is here that the club was founded away back in 1886 when the G.A.A was in its infancy. Please visit dohenygaa.com to learn more about our club.
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Dunmanway, the home of the Dohenys G.A.A. Club, is situated 38 miles west of Cork city, where the land becomes rugged and mountains dominate the skyline. It is here that the club was founded away back in 1886 when the G.A.A was in its infancy. The first chairman of the club was a local national school teacher, John Mc Carthy, while the first secretary was Richard Hayes. The club attended the first meeting of the Cork County Board and became the first affiliated club in West Cork. The official name adopted by the club was the Michael Doheny Football Club after the Tipperary Young Irelander, Michael Doheny, who spent a short time in Dunmanway when on 'the run' in 1847. Above is a picture of Michael Doheny.
In 1897 the club established a very solid foundation when it won the Cork senior football championship by defeating Wolf Tones of Kanturk in the final. This team, captained by Danny Rick O' Donovan of the Shamrock Bar, won its way through Munster but was defeated by Kickhams of Dublin in the All-Ireland final at Jones’ Road, a game played in February 1899. Although defeated this team established a tradition, which has stood well to the club over the years and guaranteed its survival during difficult times in the years following.
In its 125 years history the club has played a significant role in the affairs of the G. A.A. both in West Cork and the County. Although no further senior title has been won the club has won county intermediate football titles in 1972 and 1995 and county junior football titles in 1935,1966 and 1993. Its under-age teams have won county titles in U16 football in 1999, Under 18 hurling in 2003, and U14 hurling in 2001 U13 and U15 football 2011. Many West Cork titles at all levels, in both football and hurling, have also been won. At present the club's top football team is competing at senior level and reached the semi-final of the 2005 county championship where they were defeated by Muskerry.They reached the county final in 2006 and were defeated by Nemo Rangers. The junior B hurlers were county and Munster champions in 2006.
Over the years the club has provided a number of players to the Cork senior football team. Most notable of these were Liam Grainger and John Dullea in the 1930's, Jim and Eamonn Young in the 1940's, Denis Bernard in the 1950's, Johnny Carroll and John Crowley in the 1960's, Seamus O' Sullivan and Colman O Rourke in the 1970's, and Mark Farr and Micheal O' Donovan in more recent times. In 2000 John Collins and Paul Deane were on the Cork minor football team, which won the All-Ireland.
The club's under-age teams play under the name of Sam Maguires. The past 20 years have been particularly successful with many West Cork titles being won in both football and hurling. Three county titles have also been won.The club's base is in the Sam Maguire Park, which was acquired from the Sam Maguire Park Memorial Committee in the mid 1950's when it was no more than a farmer's field. Today it comprises of two playing pitches, four dressing rooms, a car park, a pavilion, a ball alley and public toilets. Such development over the space of 30 years could not have been possible without the generous financial support of the people of Dunmanway parish and surrounding areas.
Indeed the club has come a long way in the past 120 years. What it is today is a tribute to the many people who were willing to take up the mantle of responsibility as officers, committee, team mentors and players. The founding fathers of 1886 would have been proud of the way then" ideals have been carried on.
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The club has an ever-growing mini rugby section, a successful underage set-up and an adult side competing in the Junior Two league. Olly Barry is one of the driving forces at the club and he coaches the adult side, the U-8s and is also the club’s mini officer. “The underage section at Dunmanway RFC is strong, and getting stronger,” said Olly. “We could do with more coaches and numbers could grow as well. Being realistic, we are in a very strong GAA area and GAA will always come first but minis are going well. We have teams at U-8s, 10s, 12s and we’re hoping to expand that next year with more teams and coaches. Our U-16s (below) have had a really good year and are into the semi-final of their league,“ he added. The club can also boast a Munster Academy player in winger Darren Sweetnam. The club’s U-11 side were selected to play at half-time in the Munster v Cardiff Blues clash at Irish Independent Park in February and the youngsters were thrilled to see their local hero make his Munster debut on the night. “Darren played with the club underage and his father is coaching the U-16s – he’s a big part of their success and he played with the club for many years,” said Olly. The club have had their difficulties, however, as Olly explained: “For the last two years, our playing number were down with the recession. Bantry and Dunmanway were badly affected so the two clubs amalgamated about three years ago at adult level just to keep a team going. This is our first year back playing adult rugby on our own so we had to rebuild from scratch. We had a very strong U-18 squad last year so the majority of them played junior rugby this year and it’s been working. We don’t have an U-18 squad this year though so that’s a big disappointment and a really big loss.” Their difficulties fielding teams at some age-groups hasn’t prevented the club from developing excellent facilities in their home ground at Milleenanannig and becoming a major part of the community in Dunmanway. “We have some of the best facilities for clubs at our level,” said Olly. “We have two excellent pitches – one of which is floodlit, four dressing rooms, a small gym area and other facilities. We are very well set-up facilities wise. The club is definitely growing in the community, we have an annual fun day which is hugely supported. It’s a date on the calendar for the town, GAA is always number one down here but, for the winter months, rugby is definitely up there and it’s a strong part of the community. It gets support from non-rugby people too as the facilities get used by the local athletics club.” The club currently have around 140 players from Dunmanway and the surrounding areas of Ballineen, Drimoleague, Kilmeen, Ballincarriga and even as faras Macroom. The mini section caters for boys and girls and the club are hopeful of getting an underage section for the girls up-and-running at some stage. The Dunmanway U-8s and U-10s The U-16s play their league semi-final on April 16 and the club host the annual Aidan Ross Memorial Cup a week later. The competition is for non-rugby playing schools in west Cork and is held with the help of Munster Community Rugby Officer Ray Gadsden. This year’s Family Fun Day will take place on the last weekend in June with the West Cork Schools Tag tournament being held in Dunmanway RFC earlier in the month. Dunmanway RFC have a rich and varied history. The club was formed just over 42 years ago, they played their first ever game against Skibbereen and played friendly games for a year before they began competing in Division 3 of the Munster Junior League. Dunmanway RFC were promoted to Division 2 in the early 1980s and in 1984 they enjoyed arguable their most successful season winning both the Kelly Cup and the West Cork Cup. The Kelly Cup was retained the following season and they also added the Quinlan Cup to their trophy cabinet. In the mid-1980s, Dunmanway moved their home grounds from the Race field in Dromleena to Milleenanannig and the club grounds have been developed extensively since. In more recent times, Dunmanway RFC again reached the League final in 2010, narrowly losing out to Cobh Pirates in Musgrave Park.