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Seven a Side Football

Just like some many rural parishes throughout Ireland, Garrafrauns is steeped in the tradition of the G.A.A. The progress and prospects of Dunmore MacHales and Galway football are regularly the hot topics of  conversation. Over the years Garrafrauns parish has been the source of many fine footballers who have gone on to play with distinction with Dunmore and the county. In 1937 Garrafrauns affiliated a team in Junior competitions.

        From the early part of the 1980’s to the end of the 1990’s there was an upsurge in interest in football activity in the area. This was in the era prior to the Celtic Tiger and the Nintendo. Such was the level of interest and enthusiasm for the sport two Seven- aside tournaments were organised annually.

Dooley Park

Thee very first 7- side tournament was held in Reddington’s field opposite the old school. This field was part of  the old Garrafrauns race course and was also the site of dance


Dooley ParkDooley Park

carnivals in the 1950’s and sports days in the 1970’s. The following year the tournament was held in Grogan’s field. In 1982 a field was leased from the Dooley family. This field affectionately known as Dooley Park was to be the site of many epic battles for the next decade and a half. To mark the occasion a cup dedicated to the memory of the local curate Father Gerald Rafferty was kindly donated by Coleman family of Garrafrauns.

The annual 7-a side was by now an eagerly awaited annual event and over the Summer months up to 20 people regularly trained twice weekly in order to be ready for the big day. Not to be outdone the under 14 age group also had a Tournament of their own. Such was the level of enthusiasm and numbers participating it was decided that an inter club Junior 7-a side would be the next step on this exciting adventure.

The first open Junior 7-side took place in 1985 for the Frank Kilgarriff Memorial Cup. The late Frank was a local businessman and former chairman of Dunmore MacHales. Teams from Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and of course the host club participated. In an epic Final a gallant Garrafrauns Seven were edged out by Davitts from Irishtown, a team fresh from the success of having won their 3rd consecutive under 21 county title. Star of the final was Pakie Kirrane of High Street  a winner with the Mayo

Conor Gavin presents the FR.Rafferty Cup to Pat McWalter in 1982Conor Gavin presents the FR.Rafferty Cup to Pat McWalter in 1982All-Ireland Minor team of 1985. This Junior Tournament continued with great success for the next 12 years. Teams which took part over the years included Ballycastle, Davitts, Eastern Gaels, Breaffy, (Mayo), Michael Glavey’s (Roscommon), Garrafrauns, Dunmore MacHales, Cortoon Shamrocks, Milltown, Newbridge, Corofin, Kilconly Cahirlistrane, Glynsk, and Williamstown.

Many great players graced Dooley Park over these years.  Most notably was Derek Savage, double All-Ireland winner with Galway. He was Cortoon’s ace marksman in 1994. During this golden numerous local players went on to achieve great success with club and county. Vincent McWalter (Galway Minors, Under 21 and Senior League), Michael Noone (Galway Minors, under 21 and Senior), David Cronin (Galway Minors, under 21 and Senior League), John Dooley (Galway under 21), Michael Canney (Minor League), Brendan Noone (Minor, Under 21), Tom Ryder (Galway Minors, under 21 an

d Senior League), John Coleman ( County Seniors) Michael Salttery (Galway Masters).

The last Sevens scheduled for October 1997  was cancelled due to a water logged pitch. It was rearranged for Easter Sunday 1998 but believe it or not this time the pitch was under 4 inches of snow. Sadly this brought an end to the era of the Garrafrauns Sevens.