CUMANN LÚTHCHLEAS GAEL was born in Haye’s Hotel, Thurles on November 1st 1884. It was to take a further eighteen years, November 9th 1902, before the first Connacht Council of the GAA was set up.
In the intervening years the Association was gradually finding a foothold throughout the province, originally at club level and then by formation of County Boards. However, progress was slow and often intermittent, due to the political climate of the time, frequent personality clashes, difficulties in travelling and communication and an apparent endless list of disputes concerning fixtures, venues, team colours and refereess.
The GAA in all five Connacht counties was highly political, and clubs were recognised only in parishes that had a branch of the Irish National League, a movement that was growing like wildfire in an effort to secure Home Rule. Many clubs were also infiltrated by members of the IRB who saw them as a recruiting grouns for that organisation. The clergy were suspicious of the GAA due to its IRB links and were unhappy that the Association’s games brought large crowds together and were often occasions of drink abuse, rough play and fighting- ‘a desecration of the Lord’s day’.
The founding father’s of the Connacht Council GAA met in Ryan’s Hotel, Claremorris – now the town’s AIB headquarters on November 9th 1902 and elected their officers :-
President: Joseph McBride (Westport)
Secretary: Frank Dorr (Foxford)
Treasuer: M C Sine (Tuam)