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The early years

Oh! Cut me a hurl from the mountain ash

That weathered many a gale,

And my stroke shall be lithe as the lightening flash

That leaps from the thunders flail.

St. Joseph’s GAC Ballycran was formed in 1939 when Hugh Gilmore and Pat Hamilton approached the principal of the local school, Master Frank McKenna, a native of county Monaghan, and sought his assistance to start hurling which at the time was flourishing in neighbouring Portaferry. As a cultural enthusiast, he quickly agreed and the new club were bestowed the black and amber as a tribute to Master McKenna’s long time friend Lory Meagher of Kilkenny, perhaps one of the greatest artists to wield the caman.

Although the sport was initially slow to get off the ground because of the popularity of the local soccer teams, Ballycran quickly adopted to the new code and gained early success conquering the Ards League four years in a row from 1942-45. By 1947 they had also added the South Down League to their impressive collection. Two years later Ballycran picked up their first senior championship victory a mere ten years after their formation


By coincidence, another young GAA star was making a name for himself on the national stage as Ballycran edged towards their first county title. Sean Blaney was the inspirational captain of Armagh minor footballers as they captured their first all-Ireland title in 1948 and he won the acclaim of the sporting press of the day for his stylish endeavours. He would later move to Kircubbin and join Ballycran becoming a stalwart of the club and providing a succession of sons who would successfully represent the club at all levels, as well as the county, province and nation.

The early years provided a solid foundation for the future generation of Ballycran Hurlers who would take to the park in search of further glories and we are all grateful for their immense contribution to their legacy of today. Many have gone to their eternal reward but will be forever be remembered by the members of the club which they did so much to establish.