History

Overview

A Gaelic Football Club (William Orr’s) was founded in Antrim Town in 1924 and functioned until the late 1930s. With the major movement of workers from other parts of Ireland during the war years, it wasn’t long before the club was re-established under the parish name of St.Comgalls and continued to provide Gaelic Games in the local community, which, at that time numbered about 3000.

In the sixties, the St. Comgall’s made significant strides on the football field, achieving the noteworthy feat of progressing from Division 6 of the All County Leagues to Division 1 in almost successive seasons, and competing strongly in the Senior Championship for several years. The loss of key players to emigration led to a drop to Junior football, though with the capture of the first ever Junior Championship title in 1972.

The period from the middle sixties on saw a major expansion of the town with a corresponding increase in population. This was generated by the establishment of the Enkalon Nylon plant, which at its height employed 3000 workers. It led also to the creation of a second parish of St. Joseph in the East of the town and the opening of a Secondary level school, St. Malachy’s in 1976.

Regrettably the school did little to promote Gaelic Sport or Culture and the approaches made by club officers to try to improve the situation produced little outcome. The school sadly is now demolished, and the pupils have transferred to the new St Benedict’s College in Randalstown.
With the growing numbers of children in Antrim at that time, there was a consequent development in Juvenile provision.The period of the nineties witnessed a major increase in participation, with teams fielding in Football (under 8 to under 18) Senior and Reserve, Senior Hurling and Senior Camogie. The Footballers won 2 Junior Championships 95 and 98.

We also actively promoted Scor, taking part in and hosting two County Finals during this period. At the time there was a high level of commitment from the community and the Club activities flourished both on and off the field. We had been playing our games on the Parish Field and in order to be able to develop, we sought a long-term lease on the ground, under the clear impression that such approval would be granted.

Major successful fund-raising followed but negotiations for a lease were drawn out and eventually ended in failure. With the accompanying loss of morale within the club, came a dwindling of volunteers until it became impossible to have enough mentors for teams and league withdrawals followed. Eventually we were left with only an adult football team, which struggled to keep going, and failed to field in any competition in 2003.

The absence of GAA activity was short-lived, and the adult team re-entered the league in 2004. From that time, the support base is being gradually re-built and this year has seen the very successful return of Juvenile participation in the Leagues at under 12 (next year to include under 14 and thereafter under16 and 18.) Twenty four members completed Foundation Level Coaching in January 2006 and numbers attending juvenile coaching sessions are ever –increasing. There has been a major increase in the numbers of club personnel and a strong resolve to succeed in the aim of securing the long term future of Gaelic Sport and Culture in Antrim Town – an area designated by government for major growth.

The team colours are white and green, and the club crest is based on the 8th century Round Tower, (standing a few hundred yards to the North-East of our present playing field),where the bones of St Comgall are believed to have been laid.