Founded in 1967 And Now 50 Years Celebration In 2017 Is Upcoming
The story of Shannon Airport, its foundation in 1947 and development as an international airport, is a subject of huge significance to Irish people at home, Irish emigrants in foreign lands and also people of Irish ancestry.
Emigration to the United States from Ireland prior to the arrival of Shanon Airport, Co. Clare, was by liner from the port of Cobh, Co. Cork, right up to the late 1960’s.
Air travel was an expensive commodity beyond the means of most emigrants and Aer Lingus became a name very closely associated with Shannon.
Around the airport hinterlands at that time history recalls that the majority of the local population were primarily of Church Of Ireland persuasion and when a group of men huddled around a room with the notion of establishing a brand new Shannon G.A.A. Club, the name adopted was Shannon Airport G.A.A. & Athletic Club.
The name Wolfe Tones was later adopted as a gesture of goodwill to all the Church Of Ireland families residing in the neighbourhood. Wolfe Tone, a Dublin man, and also of Church Of Ireland persuasion, was a Famous Son of Ireland (go to www.scoreboardmemories.com under Famous Sons & Daughters Of Ireland for a historic profile of Wolfe Tone) and the pioneering founders of 1967, now have every reason to be justly proud of the club they established.
History Summary of Wolfe Tones Na Sionna 1967 - 2017
In 1967, when Shannon was a brand new emerging town a number of GAA supporters came together to form Shannon’s first ever G.A.A. club under the name of Shannon Airport GAA and Athletic Club. They could hardly have foreseen the impact their actions would have on developments of the sporting and social aspects of the new town.
The name was later changed to Wolfe Tones na Sionna CLG, a name that is now famous through out the length and breadth of Ireland.
The first games were played in an open field in Ballymurtagh until 1972 when the new fields, the
clubhouse, function hall and dressing rooms were opened. Wolfe Tones na Sionna now became the real social centre of the town and was of huge social benefit to new people migrating from all over Ireland in search of work in the rapidly developing Industrial Estate.
Trophies started to come to the club fast and furious and in 1967 and 1972 Shannon were County
Junior ‘A’ Football Champions and followed this up by winning the senior football league in 1974.
The Junior ‘A’ championship was won in 1974 also and the Intermediate football Championship was
annexed in 1975.
Hurling in the club received a welcome and major boost in 1974 with the annexing of the Clare junior
hurling championship title and this hard won trophy was also won in 1979 and again in 1995.
The Clare intermediate hurling championship victory of 1983 was a milestone as this success elevated Wolfe Tones to become a senior hurling club for the first time in its history. The seeds were now in place for further concentration on the clubs hurlers.
1996 dawned and this was the year that lifted, not only Wolfe Tones Na Sionna G.A.A. club, but the
entire Shannon community far and wide.
In unprecedented dreams, a club founded in 1967, became not only Clare senior hurling champions
of 1996 for the first time ever, but the senior hurlers marched on to become Munster senior hurling champions also.
The club proceeded to a historic All Ireland Club final to be pitted against Athenry, a club who were
dominating Galway senior club hurling at that time. Victory eluded Wolfe Tones but the new club had
established a brand new identity all over Ireland.
The Lohan Brothers:
In 1995 and 1997 the famous Lohan brothers of Wolfe Tones fame, brought the club into the spotlight
when Clare won two All Ireland senior hurling titles. The Lohan’s planted a seed for current and
future hurling apprentices of the club to follow their golden memories pathway to stardom.
(Go to www.scoreboardmemories.com to browse our All Ireland Hall Of Fame profile of Brian Lohan of Wolfe Tones and Clare. Brian's profile is in our category - All Ireland Hall Of Fame under Sports Legends)
Early Foundation Stones:
Most players on the pioneering teams were new residents of Shannon but as they settled, it became apparent that greater efforts were needed to be put in place to secure the future of the club for the new upcoming generation of young footballers and hurlers.
The development of the clubs successes since foundation was led by the setting up of the Juvenile section. Again success was almost immediate with U12 ‘A’ Football and ‘A’ Championships in 1979.
National honours followed shortly and in 1986, 1987 and 1988 Wolfe Tones na Sionna won an
unprecedented 3 in row Feile na Gael Championships.
In 1988 Feile Peil was added to this list. 1988 also saw an achievement that may never be repeated in winning all 'A' championships in hurling and football from Under 12 to Minor grades.
With the underage success it was almost inevitable that success would continue at adult level and in 1989, 1990 and 1991 Wolfe Tones won 2 Under 21 hurling and 1 Under 21 football championships.
With success on the field firmly established the club members decided to improve on facilities provided by the pioneers 21 years earlier. In recent years the progressive Clare club have installed flood lit all weather pitches, new dressing rooms, and a new club house entitled "The Goalpost".
www.scoreboardmemories.com now awaits the arrival of further landmark victories and developments in the heartlands of Shannon Airport, Co. Clare.
I believe plans are already in place for further developments in years to come.
Derry JF Doody
@ All Ireland Hall Of Fame Online Gallery