Ballymacelligott GAA Club
The G.A.A. as we know it today was introduced into Kerry by a young student teacher training in Dublin by the name of Maurice Moynihan from Ballymacelligott. As a result, Ballymacelligott was very much to the fore in the early days of the Gaelic Athletic Association.
Today Ballymacelligott GAA has over 500 senior and juvenile members. Our teams include Senior, Junior, Minor, U16, U14, U12, U10, U8, and U6’s. Our senior team compete in Division 3 of the County League and the Junior Championship.
We have in the past three years set up a Ladies section within the club which is growing from strength to strength with numbers increasing year on year. This year we have teams competing at U16, U14, U12, U10 levels.
Our club also focuses on the cultural side of the GAA participating in Scor.
Fantastic strides in juvenile football have been made over the years. Every Sunday morning at our Academy a huge gathering of young footballers can be found training at the field. This has resulted in the achievement of many county and district board titles at under age levels. It is a great place for people to come along and meet the other parents in the parish and watch their kids develop their skill sets. It is a great social meeting point in the parish.
Development of our football field continued throughout the years. The wall, carpark and dugouts were completed in 1987. In 1990, the pitch was rewired and re-seeded. In 1991, the stand and gym were erected. In 2009 we did a major re-development and laid an all-weather sand based pitch with is now the envy of many a club.
Due to our increasing numbers at juvenile level the club made a decision to purchase and develop a second field to cater for our vast numbers. A new field was purchased in 2014 and currently we are running a number of fundraising drives to raise funds to develop this pitch.
Great credit is due to all who have supported and helped Ballymacelligott GAA down through the years.
John Lenihan, a legend in athletics fields, one of the few men in Ireland to hold track, road, cross country and mountain running titles.
As well as his accolade’s on the running fields, John is a great community man and Ballymacelligott parish is lucky to have him. John is a wonderful neighbour and friend, always willing to give a helping hand. He was instrumental in the development of the wonderful walkways we have in Glanageenty in which the B Wildered route is being held.
Toureen, Ballymacelligott is the town land where John was born and still lives. Surrounding John’s home is the picturesque Glanageenty Woodlands with its rough terrain, populated by only the odd sheep or wild goat. It was on these expanses that John, the former World Hill-Running kingpin, learned his trade.
John started running on the Glanageenty hills when he was about 18 years of age, but, he really got into running about a year before that. John left school when he was 12 years old. When he finished school he found it hard to mix and rarely left the farm. But then, about five years later he went down to the local football pitch in Ballymacelligott where he started running around the field to get fit and he took it from there.
One day he cycled into Castleisland to take part in a road race and to everyone’s amazement he finished seventh. John was asked to sign for Castleisland athletics club that day and that was the start of his athletics career.
In 1991, John reached the pinnacle of his career as a long-distance hill runner. After finishing on four occasions in the top six in the World Mountain Running Championships that year in Zermatt, Switzerland, he became World Mountain Running Champion.
He has won the famous race up Carrauntoohil an amazing 19 times as well as approximately 300 other victories throughout his illustrious career.
When Ballymacelligott GAA club approached John about the possibility of running a fundraiser in Glanageenty woods to help raise funds to develop a new training pitch for our juveniles he was more than happy and willing to lend a hand in every way possible. John along with Joe O Connor of Nisus Fitness designed the route. John has put many many hours into helping us make this event the best it can be.
Ballymacelligott GAA Club are very grateful to John for allowing us to promote the event using his name and for the help and support he has given to us.
Thank you John!
Glanageenty is an area of mystery, myth and folklore, a wild and rugged landscape that was once the sanctuary to some famous heroes and bandits alike.
There are now 3 walking loops here going from the shorter green loop of approx. 1 hour to the blue at 2 hours and the longer red loop at 3 hours, times of course vary depending on fitness level but these are average times for the loops.
The area has some lovely place names such as the Black birds rock, the Ravens Glen, the Bridge of tears, Bother an Iarla, The old Brooke, Glounspillane, Cnoc an Aifreann, and the Castle Field.
The route takes you along riverbanks and woodlands. No need for ipods as you can listen to singing birds, gurgling streams, and the underfoot crunch of fallen hazelnuts and oak leaves – a paradise of peace and tranquillity.
For those with an interest in birdlife, ravens, hen harriers, kestrels, pheasants and cranes are all regular sightings – for nightimers it’s a haven for bat life!
Wild goats can frequently be seen sunning themselves in forest clearings. It is a good place to spot these feral goats with their long curving horns; at least one herd of these semi-wild animals inhabits the glen.
Tree lovers will encounter oak, birch, sallow, hazel, mountain ash, white and blackthorn, sycamore and various types of spruce in abundance.
It was in this glen that Gerald the last Earl of Desmond was beheaded in 1583 after months of hiding in dense woods – a plaque now marks the spot where his blood stained the earth.
The ruins of Sean Thaigh Og’s cabin are embed on these hills, where in 1916 Robert Monteith evaded his enemies after the unsuccessful landing of arms at Banna Strand.
From this secluded glen we can see the route and the hideaway taken by Stephen Fuller in 1923 when he was sole survivor of the Ballyseedy massacre.
When the top of the ridge is finally gained, there are magnificent views westward to Mount Brandon on the Dingle peninsula and south west across a verdant patchwork of fields and farms to the mountains of the Iveragh peninsula. There are glorious vistas of Carrantuohill, Ireland’s highest mountain.
It was here that our friend John Lenihan trained on these rugged hills Glanageenty inspired and honed this remarkable man into peak fitness in 1991 before he travelled to the Matterhorn in Switzerland to become first Irishman to win the world title for mountain racing.
Ballymac-Glanageenty Ramblers is a new hill-walking club which was formed in September 2014, having been granted aspirant club status by Mountaineering Ireland. Membership numbers are increasing progressively and if you would like to find out more please visit their website www.bgramblers.ie.