History of Goleen GAA
When you live on the Mizen Peninsula everywhere is a journey and so it has been for the players and mentors of Goleen GAA over the years. As for the Club itself it has been a life’s journey and is still only a teenager compared to other clubs present here tonight.
With its birth in the mid-fifties, early success with a West Cork Junior Championship trophy in ’59 and then mass emigration causing an enforced coma from 1966 to its rebirth in 1979. From then to the present day we have an interesting history with a relative element of success at various levels.
Flanked by a successful Junior A Club on one side and the GAA Clubs of New York being our closest neighbours on the other side, maintaining an adequate number of players to fill a panel is an on-going challenge. Despite these hurdles the Goleen Club has over the years competed at Junior ‘U21’ and minor level football and since 1992 also at underage level with Mizen Rovers fielding teams ‘U10’ to ‘U16’ football but now also at hurling from 2004. 2010 will for the first time see the club put out an adult hurling team in the minor league and championship. These underage teams along with the adult teams now operate out of the state of the art facilities at the Goleen Sports Centre which was officially opened in late 2007 by former president of the GAA Mr. Sean Kelly.
The complex boasts a large sports hall for indoor club activities along with a flood lit pitch. This is now a favourite venue not alone for the home supporters but also visiting fans who can avail of a viewing balcony and a seated area called the Michael Burchill Stand. This was erected in memory of this fine young footballer who sadly passed away just two short years after he captained our ‘U21’ team when they won the West Cork title in 1999. Goleen teams over the years did not enjoy such comforts as training and playing of games took place on a field on the sand dunes near Barley-Cove Beach. This may sound exotic to others but when fellas had to drop their trousers in full view of tourists, Yanks, Brits and Germans admiring your legs and everything else from there up to your smile, that was distracting to say the lease – ‘for the players’. We only (God help us) had small towels or none at all.
It was on those same sand dunes that the Goleen team of 1959 trained and played for that season, culminating in them beating Newcestown to become Champions of West Cork. This historic achievement was recalled in the week before Christmas just past at a function to honour those great players. The longevity of Goleen Players was evident with 17 of the panel who travelled from throughout Ireland and England present to receive their awards from Mr. Sean Kelly. How ironic then that the present Goleen team should overcome the same opposition to win their first Championship game in a few seasons in 2009. This along with success at minor level in 2007 and trophies at U12, U14, and U16 football for the past seasons gives genuine hope in the near future. With the club winning their first hurling title in two different grades in 2009, it looks like we could be one of the new breed of dual clubs in the Carbery Division.
Even in these difficult times we are optimistic for our club. With good facilities now in place and top coaches available, Goleen has become an attractive place for players to take part in Gaelic games at all levels.