Club History


Graigue-Ballycallan GAA Club was founded in 1969 when the two clubs in the parish united under the one banner. After a very good championship run in 1969 the team eventually lost out in the Northern semi-final to Conahy Shamrocks

Success was not far away and in 1970 the team swept all before them to win the Northern Junior Final, defeating St. Patricks Ballyraggett  2:10 to 2:03. For a variety of reasons the County Final against Windgap was never played. A second Northern Junior Title was won in 1979 when Graigue-Ballycallan secured a comprehensive 2:15 to 1:04 victory over Coon. A very experienced Carrickshock side appearing in their third county final in a row, proved too good on a 3:05 to 1:07 score line.

The arrival of Jim Neary to Kilmanagh National School in 1974 saw the parish primary school set off on an unprecedented period of under-age success. Hurling at Roinn C level when he arrived, he soon had the school competing at Roinn A level. The school contested twelve county finals in a row, winning many titles.

The club secured a major victory in 1984 when they defeated Glenmore to win the Minor Roinn B title. The following year, 1985 the long awaited County Junior title was won with victory over John Lockes 1:12 to 3:4. Two years later in 1987 the club attained senior status with victory in the Intermediate Final over city side O’Loughlin Gaels after a replay. Graigue-Ballycallan winning on a score line of 2:5 to 0:08 after the first game ended 2:08 apiece.

During the early years in the senior grade the club fought a number of relegation battles. Having survived the emergence of new maturing under-age talent, the club enjoyed its most successful period which included County titles in Minor Roinn A twice, Under 21 Title and four county senior hurling final appearances in a row in 1998,1999, 2000 and 2001 resulting in two club victories in 1998 and 2000. Leinster Club honours were won in December 2000 with victory over U.C.D. After a victoriousreplay with Sixmilebridge of Clare the club contested the All-Ireland Club Final against Athenry which they agonisingly lost in extra time.

With the club at such an exalted place in Kilkenny hurling a number of players emerged to take their place on various county teams. Minor, U-21 and Senior All-Ireland medals came to the parish. In 2000 the club had five players on the Kilkenny All-Ireland winning panel: Denis Byrne, John Hoyne, Eddie Brennan, Johnny Butler and Micheal Hoyne.

As Kilkenny enjoyed its richest period of success, Eddie Brennan, eight All-Irelands, James Ryall, six and John Hoyne, three, all shared in their numerous victories. All of them won National Hurling League medals as well. Denis Byrne, Adrian Ronan and Eddie O’Dwyer were members of the Kilkenny team that won the 1993 National League title, beating Clare in that final. Joe Millea(1969) and Adrian Ronan (1992-1993) were the first players from the club to win All-Ireland Senior hurling medals. Billy Cahill in 1947 was the first player from the parish to win an All-Ireland Senior Hurling Medal, he played full-forward in the 1947 final against Cork. All of these All-Ireland medal winners were honoured by the club at a special presentation night in November 2012.

In 1991 the club embarked on a mission to purchase its own grounds after decades of hurling in Shipton which was owned by the Teehans. The purchase of the field from Avonmore saw the club run numerous fund raising ventures to pay for the development of the field. After a lot of hard work, most of it voluntary, the club officially opened its new home in May 1997 when Jim Berry, Chairman of the Leinster Council performed the honours. The club now boasts one of the best facilities in the county. Pairc Thomas O Raghall commemorates the memory of the late Tom Ryall, long term secretary of the club, Central Council Delegate and Kilkenny GAA historian.

After twenty five years at senior level the club lost its senior status in 2013 when defeated by the Fenians in the relegation play-off. Already the club is planning their assault on the County Intermediate title as it bids to regain its place among the elite of Kilkenny hurling, a place befitting a club of our stature and history in the game.


Graigue-Ballycallan GAA Club would like to place on record its thanks to Milo Hennessy for compiling this history.

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