From the inception of the club, on Thursday 18th December 1969, CLG Cuchulainn made its presence felt in Division 1 of the Cavan senior league and senior championship.
Back L-R Ray Carolan, Donal Meade, Martin Gibney, Padraig Taite, Donal McGovern, Joseph Denning, Michael Dunne, John Behan.
Back L-R Cornelius Clarke, Ray Carolan, Paddy Farrelly, Martin Gibney, Tony Lynch, Pasty Daly, Paraic Taite, Peadar Mc Cabe
The Club’s league form was very similar. Immediately after losing to a mediocre Cootehill side, we read in The Anglo Celt of "an impressive win for Cuchulainns over Lacken in the senior league", a match in which Frank Smyth was the hero with two fine second half goals.
Sadly for Cuchulainns throughout the seventies inconsistency on the playing fields allied to bad luck in important games cost them dearly. A good example of this was seen in the 1976 championship when after a tremendous start Cuchulainns beat a fancied Ramor United by six points only to fall to unfancied Ballyhaise at the next hurdle. The local community news had this to say;- "Once again hard luck seems to have dogged the local sideas their brilliant centre field and county player, Donal Meade, missed the game with Ballyhaise due to being, unfortunately, sent off in the Ulster championship semi final against Down"
Lá na gClub
The GAA celebrated the centenary of their foundation in 1984. Celebrations were held in every county and club in Ireland on Sunday, July 29th. A special committee was set up by Cuchulainns GFC to organise the celebrations in the parish. It included members of the camogie club, the clergy, and members of the football club itself. This committee proposed that on the day the emphasis should be on involvement of young and old in activities rather than on items of a competitive nature. Each group had the opportunity to play games, if only for a short period.
All players, ex-players and ex-officials down through the years were notified and invited to attend celebrations. A special art competition was organised for Primary and Post-Primary pupils. Entries were exhibited in the general purpose room in Mullagh National School. On club day all available Ulster Championship, All-Ireland, Railway Cup, and other medals won by people from the parish, together with Scór and camogie trophies were put on display. Also on display were all the photographs and paper cuttings available. These were concerned with club members’ involvement at county and All-Ireland levels. The county display which involved items of interest from every club in the county was also made available to the club. The art exhibition and trophy display went on until 8.00pm. The entire day was a tremendous success, starting with a beautiful Concelebrated Mass. The readings and Prayers of the Faithful and the procession all involved All-Ireland winners and representatives of the organisations. The choir was a joint choir from Cross and Mullagh.
The coloured photographs in another section show only a glimpse of the excitement and delight that took place on the field in Cross, with people meeting old friends for the first time in many years. A tree planting ceremony in which three trees were planted in the left hand corner of the field was followed by the unveiling of the Centenary Plaque. All players, past and present got the opportunity to play their beloved game. The proceedings ended with an Irish Night in Mullagh Hall. Local talent provided the cabaret and ceilidhe. This brought to a close one of the most memorable days spent in the parish. The comradeship and co-operation experienced among the exponents of our Gaelic games was reflected in the support given by all the people of the parish of our Lá nag Club.
In 1985 Cuchulainns gained promotion to division 2 and contested both the league and intermediate championship finals. The intermediate championship final was reached by beating literally the best teams in the competition. One only has to remember the thrilling games against Kildallan, Denn and Killeshandra. Gowna, the opponents in the final, proved once again to be the bogey team. Cuchulainns fought hard to get into this game but with Gowna dominating midfield there was to be no joy for the large group of supporters from the parish.
The league final against Kildallan in Mullahoran was yet another disappointing day for Cuchulainns. The game started at break neck speed with Cuchulainns dominating the opening twenty minutes. However, an abundance of scoring chances were missed and slowly Kildallan came back into the match scoring two goals from virtually their only two attacks of the first half. The goals proved to be the turning point of the game with Kildallan going on to dominate the second half, and ran out worthy winners.
The disappointment suffered in 1985 served as a powerful motivator in 1986. The intermediate team firmly established itself in Division 2 of the football league only narrowly missing promotion to Division 1. They also reached the intermediate championship final only to be defeated by the narrowest of margins – one point. The junior team gained the club’s first trophy of note by defeating Kildallan in the final of the 1985 Division 3A league which incidentally was not played until October 1986.
The intermediate championship competition threw up many strong sides and with only seven teams in the draw, games were obviously going to be keen. Cuchullainns went in as clear favourites against Drung in the first round but were somewhat lucky to just get home by three points. They entered the semi-finals against a strong and experienced Redhills side and won by 2-5 to 1-5 with two second half goals settling the issue, scored by P. Carolan and J. Farrelly respectively. The final brought together Cuchulainns beaten finalists in 1985 and the side they accounted for in the semi-final of the same competition, Killeshandra.
Sadly for Cuchulainns it was to be a familiar story with Killeshandra winning the title by 0-10 to 1-6 in a hard fought final. It was a clash of two very determined teams and it was an occasion when Killeshandra with a well organised defence made the most of their attacking opportunities.
Cuchulainns with the benefit of the breeze in the first half enjoyed a greater share of the play but found themselves trailing by 0-4 to 0-2 at the interval. At this stage the Cuchulainns midfield had the upper hand. However, the tactic of lobbing in some high centres into the Killeshandra square proved fruitless and a great deal of good possession was wasted. As the game entered the third quarter Killeshandra gradually took control, having built up a commanding six point lead. Cuchulainns responded with a goal and a point from R.Carolan. However, time was running out they could only get within a point of the opposition.
The year 1987 is going to stand out in the history of the club. It was the year that Cuchulainns won the intermediate championship and in fact were unbeaten until September 6th, 1987. The inclusion of young players such as Fintan Cahill, Jimmy Reilly and Noel Donohoe along with the more experienced players, under the capable management of Cormac Cahill, produced a winning brand of football.
1993 Intermediate Title Goes to Cuchulainns
One of the best performances on the club scene in Cavan in '93 was Cuchulainn's defeat of Lacken in the Intermediate football final played in Breffni Park last September. The score line of 3-11 to 1-4 tells its own story, as the East Cavan side powered by county players Ronan Carolan, Fintan Cahill and Noel Donohoe were in scintillating form and their power-packed play and fitness, was much too good for a young and inexperienced Lacken side on the day.Cuchulainn's team-manager Cormac Cahill had his charges nicely 'tuned' for the big occasion, and at the end of the day, he could be well satisfied on a job well done that completed a memorable year for the club, after the disappointments with injuries etc. the previous season.
There were many highlights in this particular victory. The running of the ball and industrious play of midfielder, Noel Donohoe, the scoring expertise of top-scorer, Ronan Carolan, who finished the game with a personal tally of 2-4, and the buzz of anticipation every time the ball went in the direction of Fintan Cahill. However, the final and the long campaign has helped to developed this present Cuchulainns side into a formidable force, and if they say together could be challenging for Senior honours in the not too distant future. The players and talent are there in abundance, but they must be prepared to work hard in coming season, and build on this Intermediate Championship success. This hotbed of Cavan football along the Meath border has always contributed handsomely to Cavan football at inter-county levels, and in the more recent past has given such outstanding players as Ray Carolan and Donal Meade to the senior county side, plus numerous players at Minor and Under 21 grades. This tradition is continued at present by Ronan Carolan and Fintan Cahill two outstanding forwards, who have the ability to play key roles in Cavan's hoped-for breakthrough at Championship level this season. They will also be inspirational to their club colleagues as they set out for further football honours this season.
The successful Cuchulainns side that defeated Lacken in the Intermediate Championship final of '93 was as follows: Jimmy Reilly (captain), Martin Flanagan, John Doughty, Jimmy Murtagh, Peter Cooney, Brian Daly, Martin Lynch, Ronan Carolan, Noel Donohoe, Terry Farrelly, Eamonn Carolan, Fintan Cahill, Gerry McKenna, Liam Doughty, Eamonn Carolan. Subs used: Mark McKenna, Martin Quinn and Paul Carolan. Team-manager: Cormac Cahill.
2000 Seven A side Title
As part of the millennium celebrations it was decided by the county board to run off a 7 a side club competition.
Cuchulainns entered a team which was draw as part of the section to play its games in Ballyhaise. The competition was to be run off over one saturday in May. Unexpected to them-selves the Cuchulainn lads won their section and qualified for the finals. The finals were played that evening in Terry Coyle park, Cavan, so after an extremly long day of football the Cuchulainns panel were crowned County 7 aside champions.
2004 Division 2 League Title
Losing out, after a replay, in the IFC semi-final to the champions-elect would have knocked the stuffing out of most teams. But not Cuchulainns. With great gusto, the Cross-Mullagh lads bounced back to win the ACFL Division Two title less than eight weeks later.
Cuchulainns set their stall out from the very early part of the year with a 0-13 to 0-6 win over Lavey at Edwin Carolan Park, putting down a marker for the rest of the season. After an understandably tentative start Thomas Reilly opened Cuchulainns account with a free after five minutes and when the in-form Reilly then scored two good points from open play in quick succession, the writing was on the wall for the visitors.
Lavey belatedly opened their account with a free but in the following five minutes, two points from play by Thomas Reilly and Gavin Daly extended Cuchulainns lead to four points. The free-flowing Cuchulainns attack impressed throughout and Seamus Clarke and Martin Callaghan both got in on the scoring act for Cuchulainns before Ciaran Galligan converted two more frees just before half time to leave Cuchulainns 0-7 to 0-4 in front.
Cuchulainns had the bit between their teeth though and Martin Callaghan opened Cuchulainns account in the second-half with a good point from play before two Lavey frees gave the hosts a timely reminder of the task at hand. Thomas Reilly steadied Cuchulainns nerves with three well taken frees in the eight, thirteenth and twentieth minutes to leave the margin five points with ten minutes to go. A Seamus Clarke point after a good Cuchulainns move and another converted free from Thomas Reilly extended the lead. Lavey were shell-shocked and on the ropes but their opponents, like good champions, went for the jugular and duly hit the jackpot when Seamus Clarke was in the right place to fist a rebound to the net.
Come the end of July it became increasingly obvious that Cuchulainns were the team to beat in the league in 2004. The champions-elect showed their consistency and their pedigree with a well merited win over would-be IFC finalists Drung at the Bunnoe venue. Both sides played fast and open football in a match played in excellent playing conditions.
Every player played their part in a valuable away win. For instance, Colm Anderson’s courageous save prevented the home side from opening the scoring within seconds of the throw-in. In a fast, open game, both sides moved the ball at pace but the visitors were particularly guilty of dropping the ball short into the goalkeeper’s hands on a number of occasions. In addition, it took Cuchulainns 22 minutes to score through Thomas Reilly and when the same player pointed for them again in the 25th minute, Drung knew that they were going to be really upset against it.
Just a few minutes later Seamus Clarke fisted point had the white and blues in the lead which they held for the remainder of the game. Then a long clearance from midfield was collected by Killian Lynch who pointed in front of the posts. Lynch was again back in the action when he was brought down in injury-time and Thomas Reilly slotted over to leave the visitors ahead at the interval by 0-5 to 0-2.
Cuchulainns hadn’t things their own way despite having the edge thereafter. In fact Drung found the net shortly after the restart to level matters. Cuchulainns proceeded to register consecutive wides before Gavin Daly’s well worked point gave his side the lead once again. The impressive Seamus Clarke, Kilian Lynch and Shane Smith then pointed for the visitors to open up a four points lead, reflecting their domination at this stage of the game.
Cuchulainns remained in the ascendant from there to the close of play despite a strong finish by Drung. Cuchulainns continued to show great cohesion and spirit with their excellent second half showing against Drung fairly reflective of their growing confidence and self-assuredness.
That assuredness was manifest too in the decisive 1-13 to 1-6 victory over would-be IFC kingpins Lacken Celtic. Victory over the Celtics underlined Cuchulainns’ potential and growing stature among their peers.
By the end of October, the feeling in Cross-Mullagh was that their favourites could only throw away a place in the last four of the competition. And while they arguably drew the short straw in being pitted against Ballinagh in the semi-final of the league, nobody in any part of the county of Cavan was in doubt but that Cuchulainns had the grit and the toughness to give as good as they would get from the Saffrons, and a little more back besides.
There was no sense of cockiness in the Cuchulainns camp though. It didn’t matter that the team had amassed 22 points from thirteen league games, losing just two matches out of thirteen into the bargain, including a shock reverse to Cornafean. It did matter though that top scorer Thomas Reilly and impressive rookie attacker Killian Lynch were on fire. As things panned out, it was more a good all-round team display rather than star-studded performances from stand-out performers which served Cuchulainns best against their erstwhile conquerors.
Sadly booking a place in the final came at a price. Thomas Reilly suffered an injury which was destined to keep him out of the final in mid-December against Swanlinbar. Swad were the dark horses of the league campaign and their shock defeat of Ballyhaise in their semi-final seemed to add a lot of fuel to the notion that their name was on the cup. The script didn’t hold good though. Cuchulainns had still some of their best wine in stock and their power-packed display left the west Cavan side punch drunk on foot of a 1-8 to 1-9 defeat in Ballinagh.
In capturing their first bit of silverware in eleven years, Cuchulainns were made to fight all the way to the finishing post. Indeed, it took a late, late point by Paul Taite to actually decide the issue in Cuchulainns’ favour. Not since 1993 when they captured the Cavan Intermediate Championship had Cuchulainns tasted success at senior level. So the win over Swad was a joy to behold for all belonging to the club.
How was it achieved? By a consistently good all-round team performance, superior fitness and intelligence use of the ball.
Alan Callaghan got Cuchulainns off to a promising start when he landed a point in the opening minute. The Cross-Mullagh combination settled much quicker and when in-form Seamus Clarke fired over three points (two frees) it looked as if Swanlinbar were in for a torrid afternoon.
However, the west Cavan side showed their mettle and Robbie Prior opened their account from a free. Midway through the half, Swanlinbar were rocked when Killian Lynch grabbed a goal to put Cuchulainns 1-4 to 0-1 in front.
It looked as if Cuchulainns were going to dominate but Swanlinbar had other ideas. Once again Clarke was on hand when he landed a long-range free to increase Cuchulainns lead but Swanlinbar finished the half on top and fired over two frees just before the break to cut Cuchulainns’ lead to five points, 1-5 to 0-3.
Swanlinbar began the second half as they ended the first on the attack and were back in contention when Prior sent over three frees in the opening seven minutes. Alan Callaghan steadied the Cuchulainns nerves when he landed a free though as the game swung from one end of the field to the other in exciting fashion. Swad then had a purple patch which saw them bag a goal to put them 1-8 to 1-6 clear midway through the second half.
However, it was Cuchulainns who finished the stronger and the accuracy of Seamus Clarke had them on level terms with two frees with five minutes remaining. The momentum was again with Cuchulainns and they held their nerve and took their opportunity when presented with it as Paul Taite kicked the winning score after taking a good pass from Alan Callaghan with three minutes remaining. And that was that, Cuchulainns’ return to the winners’ enclosure at senior level was complete.
The Cuchulainns team, scorers and sub, that featured in the ACFL Division Two final victory over Swad was as follows: Colm Anderson; Adrian Taite, Barry Smith, Martin Quinn; Niall Lynch, Martin Lynch, Stephen Lynch; Paul Taite (0-1), Fergus O’Reilly; Seamus Clarke (0-6), Donal Daly, Gavin Daly; Alan Callaghan (0-2), Paul Tully, Killian Lynch (1-0). Sub – John Flanagan for M. Quinn.
2005 Intermediate Championship
Cuchulainns, who had to change colours from their tradational white with blue trim for this meeting and who are playing their league football in Division 1, showed their experience when for the most of the first half they were under pressure from a lively Drumalee side.
Drumalee had the opening score of the game from a Daragh Gaffney free in the fifth minute before Seamus Clarke responded one minute later when he burst through the town team’s defence after a great run from deep inside his own half.
Daragh Gaffney restored Drumalee’s lead from play in the seventh and was on target with a free from fifty metres to give Drumalee a lead of 0-3 to 0-1.
Cuchulainns fought back and a point from Patrick Murtagh left just the minimum between the sides.
With just three minutes of the first half remaining, Colm Anderson was called into action in the Cuchulainns goal when he saved from a Bernard Young rasper. With both sides missing frees the half-time score of 0-3 to 0-2 in favour of Drumalee must have given heart to Cuchulainns who had for the most part been under pressure for this first half.
With Terry Farrelly and Paul Taite beginning exert more influence in the middle of the park, and Martin Callaghan, Gavin Daly, Barry Smith and team captain, Martin Lynch all coming more into the game the balance began to shift more to Cuchullains. While Drumalee got the brighter start to the half with a point from a Gaffney free it was Cuchulainns who began to dictate the play with Callaghan brothers, Martin and Alan beginning to create problems for the Cavan town based outfit.
Full forward, Tommy Reilly began to find his shooting boots and reduced the arrears 0-3 to 0-4. Drumalee tried to gain the initiative and a point from sub. Finbar Donohoe gave them a cushion of two points 0-5 to 0-3. Tommy Reilly converted two frees to level the scores at 0-5 each by the forty-seventh minute. Two minutes later came Cuchulainns crucial score when Martin Callaghan and Patrick Murtagh combined to put Adrian Taite through for the all-important goal and a 1-5 to 0-5 lead.
Drumalee made a concerted effort to reclaim the advantage but once again goalkeeper, Colm Anderson was up to the task as he made another brilliant save from Finbar Donohoe. As Drumalee pressed forward for a lifeline score, it was Alan Callaghan who sealed matters with just two minutes remaining when he slotted over a well taken point. Drumalee had a point from fullback Kevin Donohoe, but it was insufficient to stop the trophy going to a well deserved Cuchulainn side. Micheal Lee shot a point for Drumalee in the second minute of injury time but by this stage the celebrations were already underway.
While this was a team performance special mention should be afforded to corner back, John Flanagan who must have pushed team captain, Martin Lynch close for the title ’man of the match’. Colm Anderson in goal was superb when called on and Barry Smith at fullback was sound. Gavin Daly, and Martin Lynch were prominent in the half back line. Midfield of Terry Farrelly and Paul Taite eventually won the upperhand and helped lay the foundation for the team’s success while in a forward division the Callaghan brothers, Martin and Alan, proved to be more than effective during the crucial second half performance. Seamus Clarke, Patrick Murtagh and Tommy Reilly all provided crucial inputs to this victory. The introduction of both Shane Smith and Niall Lynch was also to prove decisive as both players caused problems for the Drumalee defence.
This was a victory to a team performance, and with young players in the side like, Paul Tully, Killian Lynch and Adrian Taite the prospect of this team challenging for further honours is very much a reality.
Cuchulainns – Colm Anderson; John Flanagan, Barry Smith, Adrian Taite; Gavin Daly, Terry Farrelly, Martin Lynch; Paul Taite, Paul Tully; Alan Callaghan, Martin Callaghan, Patrick Murtagh; Killian Lynch, Thomas O’Reilly, Seamus Clarke. Subs. Shane Smith for Paul Tully (36m) and Niall Lynch for Killian Lynch (43m).