Official Bracknagh GAA Website
The earliest reference to Gaelic football in Bracknagh dates back to the first county committee meeting in 1889, where CJ Kickhams, a football team from Bracknagh became the first east Offaly team to be entered in an official competition. Little is known about the success or personnel involved in this team.
A look through the Offaly archives of the Offaly county board (c.1910s), suggests that there was a North Offaly GAA sub-committee consisting of delegates from Ballinagar, Ballycommon, Ballycumber, Bracknagh, Clara, Cloghan, Clonmore, Cloneygowan, Edenderry, Durrow, Geashill, Gurteen, Killeigh, Knockballyboy, Philipstown (Daingean), Rahan, Raheen, Rhode, and Tullamore clubs.
There is a record of Bracknagh beating Banagher in the Offaly Junior Football Championship in 1912, captained by Edward Carvill, a teacher from county Down who was teaching in St.Broughan’s National School at the time. Mr Carvill is credited to being a key figure in forming Bracknagh GAA (circa 1910). The team competed in the 1913 senior and junior championship before the 1912 junior championship was complete. Bracknagh played a strong Tullamore team in the 1913 Senior Championship in Cloneygowan and fought bravely before losing out to a very strong team. Bracknagh played Ballycommon in the 1913 junior championship which was played on the same day as the senior game. A large number of the players who played in this team came from the wider parish of Walsh Island and Clonbullogue. It appears that the club was disbanded in the early 20th century.
Bracknagh is situated in the midlands close to Bord na Móna factories. Bord na Móna built houses in the late 1940s for their employees. More people came to live in the area as a result of Bord na Móna employment. Players from the village have known to have played with Clonbullogue and Walsh Island. Many players from Bracknagh were part of the Junior Football winning championship team with Clonbullogue in 1965. A parish team was created in 1968 under the name of Éire Óg but this was short lived.
In 1973, a group of passionate Gaels got together under the chairmanship of Tom Fitzpatrick. Bracknagh GAA was re-established. Success on the pitch proved difficult in its infancy, with the club losing three junior titles in 1974 to St.Ryanaghs, 1976 to Cappincur and 1977 to Ballycommon. The Offaly county board reintroduced the Intermediate championship in 1978. Bracknagh at its first attempt won their maiden intermediate title captained by Seamus Comerford, beating St.Carthages in the final.
Further disappointment was to follow two years later, losing another intermediate final to St.Ryanaghs in 1980 before winning their second intermediate title in 1983. Jimmy Storan was captain of this team beating St.Brigids in the final.
Silverware was hard to win and a barron spell followed for the club until 1997 when Bracknagh won the division 2 league title beating St.Brigids in the final to get promoted to the top table for the first time in our history. Three years pass by before success can be achieved again. Bracknagh beat Ballyfore in the Intermediate Football Championship in 2000, captained by Aidan Dempsey.
What followed this title was the most sustained period of senior status in the club’s history with a highlight being a quarter final appearance against Tullamore in 2002. Bracknagh competed at senior level for the next few years before returning to Intermediate level in 2006. 10 years passed before another winning championship would return to the village. Anthony Cunningham captained the side to win the 2016 Intermediate title.
Our close bond to parish neighbours, Walsh Island and Clonbullogue flourished at under age level forming St.Broughans for all juvenile activity. St. Broghan lived with his monks at a monastery in Clonsast in the 7th century. He built a church and well there. There is a stone located at the site which is said to have an impression of St Broghan’s head in it. If you take water from the well, put it in the stone and then place your head in the stone it is supposed to cure headaches. For hundreds of years the pattern of Clonshannon was held to honour St. Broghan. People gathered at the well and said mass and held sporting events on the 29th of June each year. The pattern was celebrated for many years but has stopped in the last 20 years. The feast day of St. Broghan is the 19th of December.
Offaly has had many players who have represented Bracknagh on various county panels over the years. The earliest representation goes back to 1912, when 6 players from Bracknagh played for Offaly against Laois in a Junior game in Birr on the 2nd June 1912. At senior level the number has been far less, but unquestionably the most successful was Sean Brereton who in 1960 was a member of the first Offaly Senior Football team to win a Leinster final. Sean played a year later for Offaly who were beaten by Down in the All Ireland Football Final in 1960. Sean won three railway cup medals representing Leinster.
Tom Fitzpatrick was the next Bracknagh Club man to wear the green, white and gold for the Senior team. Tom played for Offaly in the late 70s and early 80s, narrowly missing out on bringing a Senior All-Ireland medal back to Bracknagh.
In the late nineties, two more players, David Connolly and Fran Wyer had the honour of representing the club at county level with David a member of the 1997 Offaly panel who captured the Leinster title.
Peter Cunningham is currently representing Bracknagh on the Offaly County team.
The Gaels of Bracknagh were able to celebrate an All-Ireland medal in 2013, when Catherine Bennett played with the Offaly Ladies Junior team who won the All-Ireland Junior Championship.