Dunloy GA & CC -A Club History
Though the game of hurling was played from about the middle of the nineteenth century in the Dunloy area, it was not until 1908 that Cuchullain’s club was formed. While it began as a club for both hurling and football, the latter was more dominant of the two in the 1920s and 1930s.
The affiliation of the newly formed Cuchullain’s club took place at a meeting in Cushendall, adding another club to those already formed in previous years. It has been said by those from a bygone age that the founder members of the club in Dunloy, spent much time discussing the name. While tales are told of how difficult the decision was, no one is quite sure why the name Cuchullain was chosen. Whatever the reason, we know it was a suitable and apt name of our club, as it has produced players and members over the years who, like the brave warrior Cuchullain, were fearless, determined, ambitious and courageous.
Among the founder members were Andy Dooey, Paddy McCamphill, Bob Black and Dan Boyle.
Andy Dooey was a native Gaelic speaker and historian, who had a great love of irish culture. His involvement in the founding of a club in Dunloy was a natural extension to the great work he had already done in reviving Irish language in the area. Andy’s daughter Péig and Kathleen won All-Ireland medals. Péig won in 1945, 1946 and 1947 and Kathleen in 1946 and 1947.
Paddy McCamphill was aged twenty-five when he became involved with the club. He was an enthusiastic player, as well as being the man in the parish whom players visited to get sticks spliced, or boots studded. It was not uncommon for Paddy to act as doctor and insert a stitch. However he has never fussed about the colour of the thread! He held the positions of chairman, secretary and treasurer at various times during his life. He was chairman at the time of his death in 1944.
Bob Black was a native of County Donegal. He was the owner of the village pub. Bob was talented in the game of shinty and it was he who introduced the game to the parish. It was this initial introduction that laid the foundations for what became a very successful club.
Dan Boyle was from the townland of Galdanagh. He was a committed club member, until he emigrated to Australia. Before he left, he donated his bicycle to the club to be auctioned. It was put up for raffle and made £8.00. Fortunately for the club, it was won by a lady who raffled it again and made an additional £7.00. Like so many who left Ireland, he did not return. It is quite possible that Dan may have helped develop the game in that country.
After the initial founding of the club, many more men joined, with Hugh Drain, Dan McKendry, Jim McQuillan, Charlie Kearns and the McKillens being prominent.
The matches played in the early years in the life of the club were mainly challenge games. While no one is quite sure where the first games were played, it seems fairly certain that they were held in Galdanagh, in a field opposite the cottages on the Garryduff Road.
It is most notable that the pitches use in those days were much smaller than at present. Pearse Park presently measures 170 x 85 yards. Some of the pitches used in the early days were Presbytery Lane, which measured 140 x 80 yards. The pitch at the bottom of the New Road measured 150 x 80 yards and Hugh McCamphill’s field was 150 x 45 yards. As you can see, the difference in the size of the playing area of the pitches in the past compared, to the present day is considerable. This, along with the fact that both sliotars and footballs were much heavier in those days, would account for the low scoring in games.
The Camogie Club was formed in 1933 and immediately became an intricate part of the GAA Club although they were two different organizations. Cuchullains are justifiable proud that this tradition, started at the formation of the Camogie Club continues to this day.
The women took part in the day to day running of the club and were afforded equal rights to playing facilities and travel as their counter parts. The early years of camogie in Dunloy were uneventful and it was not until the mid-forties that the golden era began.
This lasted for twenty years but camogie declined rapidly in the late sixties and early seventies.
Because more competitions were now organized by North Antrim and the County once again camogie started to prosper with more young people playing and getting involved in the running of the club.
It was in the Nineties that Cuchullains once again became a force in the senior ranks and are still contending for All County Honours.