The G.A.A. has been in existence in Bunclody since the Organisation was founded in Thurles, 1884. Bunclody was then known as Newtownbarry. The Athletic Club, which was to become the G.A.A. Club is gets its first broad mention in Bassett’s Directory of 1885, listing P.P. Lawler as Chairman and Henry Lewis as Secretary.
One of the early needs was to acquire lands for their playing grounds. The whole community combined to purchase three acres at Irish Street that became known as the Gaelic Park. This served the Club for many years until the land in question was given over to the educational needs of the area. A Vocational School now occupies the site and the Club bough and developed pitches and facilities on a 18-acre site at Church Road. In the years between, the Club had the generous use of the Bridge Meadow Grounds with space for every need. To meet the expanding needs of the Club, other fields were graciously provided, from time to time, by a farming community willing to give every assistance to the national Games.
Bunclody’s first win was in 1913 and in Junior Football. This brought a revival and John Wall, Mick Doyle and Bob Armstrong were honoured by being selected on the County teams. Indeed John Wall won three all-Ireland medals with the all conquering Wexford Senior Football teams1913-1918 when 6 Leinster and four all Ireland Senior Football titles, in successive years came Wexford’s way. The first of these Leinster titles was won in 1913 on the Sunday following Bunclody’s first championship win. The Bunclody men became legends. Jim Wall, Bob Armstrong, Mick Doyle; Tom and Mick Sheridan, the O’Neill’s, Pat Cowman, Peter and John Doyle and Jimmy Murphy became over-night heroes’ -all of whom played on the County team.
The Club was called Bunclody Insurgents; the President was the local curate, Fr Richard Gaul who provided undoubted leadership; Ned Wall was Secretary and trainer and also the Club’s representative on the County Board. Everybody felt privileged to be involved and chipped in what they could in support. Emigration played havoc with the area over the next fifty years. Even though the years were lean for Bunclody, some individual members rose to fame and wore the County jerseys. Paddy Coad, Ted Wall, John Hanrick, John Fitzpatrick, Denis Foley, Jim Wall, Jim Hagan, Ned Fenlon were ones whose names spring to mind..
In the 1930’s, on the back of a very successful Gaelic League group, Padraig Kinsella, (father of our own Rory Kinsella) a Gorey teacher revived an interest in Hurling. Though no championship victory came their way, some excellent games were played in tournaments and challenge games.
In the “bad” years, divisions arose and the parish on occasions boasted of rival teams.
Underage teams were fostered and became the bedrock of development into junior and eventually senior teams. In the late 1950’s Paddy Dillon, Paddy Long, Rory Murphy, Owen O’Brien and some others decided to establish a “rural” arm to games in the parish and brought the Halfway House Club into being. Interest began to rise once again and in the early 1960’s the whole parish united once more and the tremendous support and dedication brought a county junior football championship to the parish in 1968. Tony O’Loughlin, who was very much a hurling enthusiast, became Chairman of the combined Halfway House-Bunclody Club, and improvement came.
The Club did spilt for a number of years in the mid ‘70’s but reunited in 1976 when they went on to win the Intermediate Football Championship v Naomh Eanna and went down in the Intermediate Hurling Final to neighbouring Kilrush Askamore.
Since the Parish united to form one GAA Club, under the Half-Way-House\ Bunclody GAA Club banner much progress has been made both on and off the field. The list of Championship wins are listed in Appendix ?? but the highlights were surly the Senior Football Championship wins in 1982 and 1985 and going Senior in Hurling in 1983.
We bought our own field in 1978 and developed it in 1979 / 82. We now have approximately 20 acres on which we have 3 pitches, (2 of which are floodlit), Clubhouse, an indoor training complex, a hurling wall, a 1 km walking track and car parking facilities.
County Championship Wins:
Senior football – 1982, 1985.
Intermediate football – 1976,
Junior A football – 1913, 1968, 1986,
Junior B. football – 1978, 2003, 2010
Under 21 football – 1976, 1978, 1981, 1992, 2005, 2008
Minor football- 1981, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2010
Juvenile football 1998, 2000, 2002
Senior hurling —-
Intermediate hurling 1982, 1993, 1995, 2002, 2010
Junior hurling —-
Junior B hurling – 1978, 1981, 2010
Under 21 hurling – 1988, 2004
Minor hurling 2008, 2011
Juvenile hurling – 1994, 2010