Brass bands and the County fair!

The Clare County Board was established in early 1887. It was at this time that the majority of the county's G.A.A clubs were founded, included amongst them - Cratloe, who went on to contest theirs and the Clare's very first Senior Football Final in that year. The outcome unfortunately resulted in a loss to near neighbours, Newmarket-on-Fergus, but the unlikely East Clare pairing shows that the club's early allegiance seemed to lie with football more so than hurling. To our shame little is known about that first pioneering historic team from the Parish. The late Limerick G.A.A Historian Sean O' Ceallaigh wrote that Cratloe were highly rated football outfit who often engaged in challenges against Coonagh and other sides across the border including the famed 'Commercials' - the first All Ireland Champions.

It is recorded that in preparation for the 1887 season Cratloe played two challenge matches against Newmarket, the first on St. Patrick's Day in Newmarket where both teams were paraded to the ground behind a brass band, and the second three weeks later in Sixmilebridge. The Newmarket Club History Pamphlet - 'A Proud Past' states that Cratloe were captained by James Enright and were bolstered by the performances of the three Flannery's, McNamara, Carthy and McInerney.

In the championship, Cratloe accounted for Doora by 0-1 to 0-0 leading them to the semi-final in Quin where they took on a highly fancied Ennis side but on a day when the thermometer showed between 100 and 120 degrees, it was the Cratloemen who ran out convincing winners over the townies by 7-1. In the county Final on July 10th, Cratloe and Newmarket again renewed acquaintances with Newmarket playing at home. Very little account of the contest exists apart from "the game being disappointing because Cratloe were short several key players" (Clare Annual Yearbook 1987). Newmarket ran out convincing winners and were presented their medals afterwards in the local schoolhouse. 'Local folklore has since indicated that half the Cratloe team were obliged to herd cattle to a fair on the same day as the county final'! We'll believe it.

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