The History of the Tir Chonaill Gaels
The Tir Chonaill Gaels GFC club was formed in 1962 by prominently Donegal men. The first ever meeting took place in the Red Lion pub in Kilburn and was chaired by Jackie Reilly. Other people in attendance included Bernard Laverty, Peader & Mickey Duffy, Jackie Rushe, Liam Doherty, Christy Boyle, Terry McIntyre and John Kelly. There were many others but their names are too many to mention. The club was originally named Clan na Domnaill or Club of the O'Donnells, but this was changed, as the London County Board would not allow the name to be used. It was changed to the present name.
The club in its short history has become one of the most successful clubs in London and Britain. They started firstly winning the junior championship and league in 1963. In the seventies they won the intermediate championship and league. They also claimed the Sean Shiel's and Murphy cups. They then progressed to senior level in the early eighties and first won the Senior Championship in 1983. In that year they also won the British Championship. Since then the club has went on to win a further eight London and British Senior Championships. They have also won the senior league on more than ten occasions and won numerous Tipperary and Conway cups.
The club has also won numerous All British B&I nine- a-side tournaments. They have also completed in the Kilmacud sevens in Dublin on many occasions. The Gaels have played in this tournament more times than any other overseas team. The club in recent years have a policy of playing a number of friendly matches against teams from Ireland. Either the club goes back to visit these teams or the club will play host to these teams.
Over the years the club has had the honour of playing against some of the finest teams from Ireland either in competition or in friend lies. The club has played in nine All-Ireland quarter final club championship against teams such as Lavey (Derry) twice, Knockmore (Mayo), Crossmaglen (Armagh) twice, Nemo Rangers (Cork), Castlehaven (Cork, Ballinderry (Derry), Burren (Down) and Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo). They have also played a number of prestige friendlies against teams such as Kilcar (Donegal), Killybegs (Donegal), Civil Service (Dublin), St Olafs (Dublin), Ballyshannon (Donegal), Donegal (New York), University of Ulster (Belfast) and many more.
The club celebrated its fortieth anniversary with a weekend of celebrations that took place on the last weekend of October 2002. Many people travelled over from Ireland for the weekend including many of the very first committee. There was also a friendly match that took place with the present Gaels team playing against a team made up of ex-players now living back home in Ireland. The team was managed by ex-Gaels player and former Louth manager, Paddy Carr. It featured such names as James McCartan, John Duffy, John McPartland, Tommy Maguire, Kieran Kilhooey, Raymond Jackson and many more.