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The Early Days
The birth of Dromintee’ Gap of the North’ GFC, in 1886 or 1887, was set against the background of various geographical and historical factors which may have dictated that Dromintee would have the honour of being the first club in county Armagh, affiliated to the GAA. The Gap of the North and the people who lived around Slieve Gullion were in the frontline in the defence of historic Ulster and central to the national resistance to invasion and conquest. The idea of the GAA in the 1880’s had to pass through the Gap of the North and find acceptance here before taking root deeper into Ulster.
Dromintee – “Gap of the North”
The first reference of the Gaelic Athletic Association in county Armagh appeared in the October 2nd,1886, issue of ‘Sport magazine’ which stated that two members of the GAA central executive, Frank Brassil Dinneen and John Boyle O’ Reilly, were busy recruiting members and organising branches in Armagh, Cavan and Monaghan. The first branch of the GAA in county Armagh was recorded in the February 5th, 1887 issue of ‘Sport magazine’ as being Dromintee, though no club name was given. It seems reasonable to accept that Dromintee was first by the virtue of its geographical location in the Gap of the North rather than by chance.
The Birth of the Jonesboro Border Rangers
The Jonesboro Border Rangers was the first club that made the important breakthrough in reviving the GAA in Dromintee and Jonesboro during the 1920’s. This was the first club in the parish since the birth of the GAA to survive beyond its first year and, as far as is known compete in competitions with other Armagh clubs.
Throughout their existence, apart from certain wilderness years, the Jonesboro Border Rangers competed with other teams in the county and with some success too, their crowning glory being their epic, victorious run in the 1934 Armagh Junior Championship which resulted in a 1-7 to 2-2 win over High Moss. This result meant that this was the first county championship title to come to the parish.
One would have imagined that this would have spurred the Jonesboro Border Rangers onto Better things, however 1937 saw the break up of the Border Rangers and the withdrawal from all competitions.
1941 saw the re-emergence of the Border Rangers into the Junior league in Armagh. It is well known and documented that the club participated in competitions in the immediate years, although no success was recorded during this time.
From 1946 right through to 1952 no reports of a football team in Jonesboro can be found. Jonesboro, and the Border Rangers specifically appears to have played no part in league or championship games during this period. The club seems to have disappeared without trace.
The Faughil Emmets
After the initial break-up and demise of the Jonesboro Border Rangers in 1937, the next reported team in the parish was the Faughil Emmets. The club was born in 1940, however their history was short lived as 1941 saw the re-emergence of the Jonesboro Border Rangers.
The birth of Dromintee. St Patrick’s GFC
After a gap of several years when there appeared to be little if any GAA activity in the parish, reports of a reformed club appeared in 1952, when the Frontier Sentinel announced the formation of Dromintee St Patrick’s GFC. This club remains to the present and is the most enduring and most successful club in Dromintee’s GAA history.
Outlined below is a brief record off the club since its birth in 1952.
*1952. South Armagh League Winners (at the first attempt)
*1954. South Armagh Junior Champions
*1963. Armagh Junior League Champions
*1966. Armagh Junior Championship Winners
The seventies was a barren decade for the club in terms of success at senior level, indeed the club nearly ceased to exist in 1976 as there was not deemed to be sufficient interest to keep a senior club in existence, and regrettably they were forced to withdraw their team from the 3rd division of the Armagh county league.
Indeed had it not been for the foresight of a few club members most notably Peter Mc Ardle, Jimmy Hughes, Tom Wall and Derek Garvey (who realised the potential of the underage talent in the club at this time), the club may not have survived at this crucial time.
Thankfully the club survived this lean period and the subsequent years have proved to be much more successful at senior level. Included in the list of honours are:
*1983 Division Four League Champions.
*1984 Division Three League Champions,
Armagh Junior Championship Winners
*1989 Armagh Intermediate Championship Winners
*1996 Division One League Winners
Armagh Intermediate Championship Winners
Off the field Dromintee club has grown considerably in the past two decades. Most notable on this front was the opening of Lochrie and Campbell park in 1988. Indeed to the present day the club is in the position of currently upgrading facilities in line with the best the county has to offer.
On a playing level Dromintee G.A.C. has had no immediate success. However the club is currently in a strong position both on and of the field; no where is this being better recognised than with the increasing number of players from the club gaining recognition and success at county level.
St. Patrick’s Dromintee Hurling and Camogie Club
Dromintee hurling and Camogie was formed in 1987, thanks mainly to the efforts of Donal Saunders and Alex Killgallon. The camogie club survives to this day as a internal part of Dromintee G.A.C. Since its beginning and due to a demise in interest, the hurling club has ceased to exist.
From humble beginnings however the Camogie club has brought notable success to our club, including Junior (1994) and Intermediate (!996) championship titles as well as various league titles.