Club History

Introduction

The local GAA Club was founded in June 1889 in honour of the Nationalist John Mandeville, who was imprisoned in Tullamore Jail at the time. The team’s first outing in black and green jerseys was a friendly against Rathangan played on a field kindly given for the occasion by Francis Gowing of Killeen House. An RIC Police report the following year listed the Local Priest, Fr E. Mulhall as the Club President, with Joseph Grogan as secretary, James Fox as treasurer and Pat Harte as club captain. The new club had 60 members and was not seen by the police as being under the influence of the militant IRB

However like most clubs in Offaly at this time, the bitter Pernellite split of 1890 temporarily killed the playing of games for the rest of the century. While activity did start up again in 1900 there were two clubs operating in the Parish, The Phillipstown Mandevilles and the newly formed Killeen Emmets

With two teams competing in the Championships for the next few years it was surprising that the Killeen Emmets would do so well as to reach the senior county final in 1900 only to be beaten by 5pts by Rhode. One of the few bright developments at the start of the century was the promotion of Hurling in the town but the new team didn’t participate in the Championship.
Success eluded the Clubs until 1908 when a united effort saw Phillipstown take the Junior football title by defeating Edenderry. While the first senior title was annexed the next year with a 1-4 to 0-3 points win against Ballinamere . It was virtually the same group of players who brought these first two titles to the Parish, they lined out as follows; Denis Flanagan(Captain), Tom Kilmurray, Ned Hayes, Mick Crystal, John King, John Grace, Mick Bolger, Pat Bolger, Bill White, Joe Wright, Peter Wright, Jim Cooke, John Henry, Mick Quinn, Brian Gilligan, Peter Brazil and Tom Rourke.
Sadly these successes did not propel the club to greater heights, and the next 15 years witnessed lean times.No senior team was affiliated after 1912 while the emergence of a team in Ballycommon weakened the playing pool of players.The losing of the junior final to Cloghan in 1915 was a major blow as senior status was not regained for another 12 years.Meanwhile, the independence struggle after 1916 while not devastating the club through loss of players, sparked more petty divisions with the local ITGWU branch at a stage even attempting to field a team
The disappointments of previous years were quickly forgotten however when in 1927, the inaugural year of the juvenile championship, Daingean scored its first notable double success. The hard working juniors took county honours with victories over Tullamore, Rahan, Rhode, Clara and Erins Own in the final. Their victory was slightly overshadowed by a very exciting u16 team backboned by Paddy and Jimmy Henry which romped to championship glory with wins over Rhode, Tullamore and Cloghan. Their success appeared to herald a new era when the seniors reached the 1929 final only to suffer heartbreak again to Rhode. This defeat led to a surprising decision not to affiliate at senior level for a number of years and Ballycommon now carried Parish hopes in this grade. However, a second splendid u16 team led by the Buckleys and Jody Spollen took the Championship in 1934, which provided a nice way for the club to celebrate the golden Jubilee of the association. This team provided the bulk of the players who would bring further pride to the Parish by winning minor crowns back to back in 1936/37. With a third junior success also in 1937, hopes were realistically high that a bright future lay ahead for the Club.

1938-1952

Promotion to senior ranks raised club expectations that were to be cruelly thwarted with county final defeats to Walsh Island(1938), Rhode(1939) and Walsh Island again in 1942. The daingean team of this era sported some of the finest players ever to grace the club- J.J. Hanlon, J.Spollen ,The Mallons, Hanlons, Brennans, T.Sullivan and Jim Morris(who also played for Carlow and Leinster). More frustratingly this team was noted for their ability to defeat the top teams in the Midlands at tournaments which were increasingly popular at this time. Such victories were won at Clara in 1939, Rhode in 1940 and Rosenallis in 1942. But the championship defeats took their toll and by the end of the decade, the Club had again shed its senior status. Defeat to Erin Rovers in the 1951 junior final seemed to Herald further dark days, but unknowingly, the club was about to enter it’s most fruitful period of success.

1952-1967

Quietly and almost out of nowhere at the end of the 1940's a new set of players had come together to form a junior team of genuine quality that would kickstart a golden period of club success. After being denied in the final in 1951 and losing out to a St. Marys objection the following year, this team went on to play a hectic seven match campaign to bring the fourth junior success to the club in 1953. Backed by solid players on every line in S.Farrell, J.Daly, J.McEvoy, E & P Carey, L.Magill, J.Greene,J.Coyne, J.Quinn,P & M. Galvin and M.Fitzpatrick, this team now strengthened with the emergence of rising star Tommy Greene went on to take intermediate honours the following year with a strong 4-9 to 0-7 victory over Erin Rovers. In 1955, the now battle hardened side came within within minutes of completing a historic treble when a controversially disallowed goal cost them victory over Rhode by one point in the senior final. However, unlike some teams of the past, most of these players continued to strive for senior success. They completed a three in a row series of victories in the Croghan FEIS cup(1956,1957,1958), the Daingean Church tournament in 1959 and the Ballycumber Tournament in 1960. Very popular 7 a side tournaments became fashionable at this time and Daingean became a noted team of excellence in this game format, winning the Rathdangan tournament in 1959 and also bringing home the spoils at Clonbullogue two years later. But the main highlights of these years was the capture of two senior titles in 1962(captained by T.Greene) and in 1965(captained by J.Kilmurray) These teams were also remarkable for the large cluster of family brothers that dotted their lineups ; namely the Hickeys(Jody,Noel and Ambrose) the Greenes (Tommy and Peter), the Careys(Peter and Eugene), the Quinns(Joe and Tony), the Smiths(Noel and Jimmy) and the Foxes(Mick and Liam), these brothers were solidly backed by W.Greene, P.McCormack, L.Boland and M.Ashe. Added to their success was the delayed 1962 Croghan 7 a side tournament(for a set of electric razors), while in 1966 a remarkable five senior tournaments were won in Durrow, Mullingar, Rhode, Kill and Banagher. These great victories however were slightly blighted by the failures to win the boardroom wrangle concerning the 1962 county minor final. That year, a brilliantly motivated and talented u18 side had progressed to meet a highly fancied Cloghan team in the County final after earlier victories over Killeigh, Clonbullogue, Tullamore and Rhode. Backboned by a powerful midfield combination of O.Kilmurray and L.Boland, Daingean were leading by 3-5 to 1-6 when a section of the Cloghan supporters invaded the field with only half a minute to play forcing the referee to abandon the game. The highly respected chairman of the Club, Fr.Edward Daly, attending a subsequent county board meeting to arbitrate on the issue, refused the surprising request by the board to replay the match. The board decided then to declare the game unfinished, a decision that both disappointed and greatly annoyed the players who had worked diligentlyto bring the title home. The greatest tragedy surrounding these events however is that very few these players come through in later years. The reasons for this are certainly debateable, but by the late 1960s, the great senior side of earlier years was beginning to decline and went down to Rhode in the 1967 decider. While still capable of good football as was evident by winning the Daingean festival Cup that year and the White Cup in Clara the following year; the teams ageing profile clearly showed up in final tournament defeats in the Tullamore towns Trophy, also at Kill and the loss of our own festival cup final in 1969. By this overall achievement however the teams of the era will always be fondly remembered by club supporters.

1968-1979

Successful teams are hard to break up and so it proved when some of the heroes of previous years found it difficult to call it a day and club selectors found it equally hard to replace them. For a number of years after 1967, the seniors failed to advance beyond the first round. However, the victory of the Parish u21 team over Cloghan in 1970 with a team powered by K.Kilmurray M.Wright and captain L.Hanlon, laid the solid basis for a men’s senior team. A first ever senior championship victory over Walsh Island in 1975 paved the way for a brilliant semi final victory over champions Ferbane, but the newly emerging confident side led by Con Nolan failed to lay the Rhode bogey in the final when expectation amongst supporters was at their highest Two years later, the side captained by Willie Kennedy lost out to Tullamore after a good semi-final win over Rhode.More disappointing was the quiet breakup of this team over the next few years when perseverance and calm was called for. As u12 and u14 victories in 1972[captain S Bracken]and 1975[captain J. henry] respectively, showed that the hard work being done at National school level by Martin O Donoghue was bound to pay dividends with the correct handling
1980 to Present

The gloom of the early 1980’s was lifted by the capture of three u21 titles by the parish side: St Colmans. Victories over Rhode in 1981,Tullamore in the centenary year of 1984 and Togher in 1985, saw the emergence of another group of talented players.However the failure to build a parish senior side on the back of these wins is now regretted by many who shared in these victories.Players of the calibre of S Bracken, O & A Scally,C & G Galvin, K Connolly,P Spollen,P & M Daly,C Kennedy,J Rigney,S McEvoy and Jonjoe Hanlon proved more than equal to the best in Offaly at the time.
Regrets aside, the decision of the county board to enter Daingean in the newly organised Senior B Championship in 1987 caused a disquiet among some club stalwarts, but the team coached by J Courtney answered in the right fashion by winning the competition.This well drilled side also took the Tom Wright Memorial Cup by defeating Senchelstown(Meath) and added the Rhode Tournament[Dick Conroy Cup] the following year in 1988. The Junior B side captained by Malcahy Mangan brought the club another double in 1987 by defeating Drumcullen in a game that saw T Greene earn a second Junior Medal to the first that he won in 1953. These teams formed the basis for a new senior side for the next 10 years but the nearest they came to county final glory was a semi-final defeat to Clara in 1993. Since the mid 1990’s,club fortunes have again declined, despite winning the division two league in 1999, the seniors were relegated to intermediate status in 2001.A new young team led by John Greene defeated Clonbullogue in 2002 but Senior status was only maintained for 2 short years. Subsequent relegation to junior ranks and the loss to Clara in the 2007 junior final means that much hard work lies ahead to bring the club back to glory days.