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Eire Og Derriaghy GAC

1930's 1940's 1950's 1960's 1970's 1980's 1990's 2000's

The 1990's were a period of transition and a story of so near and yet so far, with the Ogs runners up in the league several times and Martin Cup finalists

1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

Despite the good Minor teams of the 1980ís, there were not that many underage players now coming through to the senior ranks. The double league winning Minor team of 1989 and 1990 was to be the last side to challenge for honours for several years. This prompted a merger in 1990 with St Anneís Derriaghy, who had many underage players but little to offer them as regards senior football. The Ogs were renamed Eire Og Doire Achaidh, and began, what has proved to be, a very successful underage coaching programme. In 1990 the Under 12 footballers won Division 2, in 1994 the Under 12 hurlers won Division 2, while the Under 16 and Minor footballers both finished second in their leagues, and in 1999 the Ogís Under 14ís won both the football and hurling leagues.

The senior team in Frank Dawsonís last year in charge, meanwhile, lost the 1990 Division 2 title to St Agnes in a play off, just failing to win promotion to Division 1, while the Senior Reserve team under Bobby Rice again won their league. Unfortunately that was to be the beginning of the end for that particular team.

Despite the amalgamation with St Anneís, there was a lack of good Minor footballers coming through to the senior team Ė it was not to be until the mid to late 1990ís that Eire Og began to reap the benefits of the amalgamation.

Older players began hanging up their boots. Club captain and former Antrim player, Brendan Downey along with Johnny Smye, Jim Dalzell, Paddy Doherty, John McPoland, Killian Short from Crossmaglen and Pat Rice, all winners of the Intermediate Championship were to hang up their boots within a few years. Indeed, only the evergreen Alec McGoran continued playing for another 10 years.

A lot of the decent young footballers Eire Og had were lured away to bigger clubs, such as St Paulís, St Gallís and St Endaís in particular. Such is the plight of the small city club.

The combination of these three factors saw Eire Og slip from 2nd in Division 2 in 1990 and 3rd in 1991 to eventual relegation in 1994 to Division 3, despite reaching the Intermediate Football Championship semi-final in the same year.

Gerard McNulty took over the captaincy for three years and John McPoland, Bobby Rice and Jim Dalzell all took turns at the senior management position. But the 1990ís were to prove to be very frustrating. After relegation, Conor Wills became senior captain and Eire Og finished as league runners up in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999, always failing to gain promotion by one place, losing out to St Johnís, Portglenone, Aldergrove and St Malachyís. Even the Martin Cup provided disappointment as we lost the final in 1994 to St Gallís despite leading by three points at the end of the first half.

1995 was to provide a lot of controversy though and the low point of the decade. Eire Og were drawn against Aldergrove in the Intermediate Championship up at Glenavy. A goal for the Crumlin men half way through the second half prompted a mass brawl after which the game was abandoned and both teams thrown out of the Championship. That was not the only fall out of the match. Trailing Aldergrove by a few points in the race to the league title, the two teams were not permitted to play each other, despite the fact that had Eire Og won both games they would have been league winners. As a result, Aldergrove came first by default, got promoted and have played Division 2 football ever since.

Pat Rice became senior manager and Adrian OíReilly captain in 1998 when Eire Og played in Division 4, due to a reorganisation of the leagues to accommodate 1st Division reserve teams. 1998 was also the 50th Anniversary of the 1948 Senior Football Championship, and this was commemorated by a dinner in the Europa Hotel in honour of the winning team.

Now Eire Og had a nucleus of young players who had come through every age level together. Along with some of the older, more experienced players of the 1980ís and early 1990ís this team was to get better in the following years and soon proved it in 2001.