Senior Club History
Almost a Century....
Born in Dublin in 1903 'camoguidheacht' reached County Antrim soon after, but it was not until 1908 that the first Antrim club was formed in Belfast. Named Banba the new club played its first competitive match at the Dundalk Feis on June 7th 1908 and was defeated by the ladies of Dundalks Eimear's club.
The young club soon floundered in the political climate of the time and it wasn't until 1910-11 that camogie again found its feet with the emergence of the Belfast based Crowley's, Mitchel's and Ardoyne. All played a succession of 'friendlies' until the outbreak of World War One in 1914 when most of the clubs disbanded.
In 1927 Belfast team O'Connell's came onto a barren scene and were joined by St. Mary's Training college, McKelvey's, Ardoyne, Gaedhil Uladh and the famous Deirdre club in 1929 forming the Senior Camogie league in South Antrim.
A year later St. Malachy's, Morans and Greencastle's Wolfe Tones joined the Belfast division.
At the same period in time, St.Olcan's (Creggan), Tir na nOag (Randalstown), St Brigid's (Antrim), Toomebridge and St. Trea's (Newbridge) came together to form a 'South-West' league and North Antrim followed suit with Ballycastle, Glenarm, Dunloy, Carnlough, Cushendun and Glenariffe setting up their own league.
ANTRIM'S SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP BEGINS 1932
The first Senior County Championship was decided in 1932 with the winners emerging when the then three 'divisional' champion's played off in one County semi-final and final.
Creggan overcame Deirdre to claim the first Antrim Senior title, which they defended successfully until Deirdre broke their stranglehold to claim back to back titles of their own in 1937 and ' 38.
The Belfast team dominated for several years. Gaedhil Uladh, Deirdre and St Teresa's flew the South Antrim flag. In 1946 Dunloy brought the coveted 'O'Duffy cup' to the Glens, with neighbouring rivals, Loughgiel claiming their first crown in 1947.
A new Senior Open Draw format appeared in 1948 when Ahoghill overturned the previous years final defeat by the Shamrock club.
It changed hands again going back to Dunloy in ' 49 only to be eclipsed for four years in a row by the girls next door taking home three and St. Teresa's claiming the famous title for South Antrim.
A new name on the cup came in 1954 and ' 55 with St Malachy's who defeated Dunloy in both County finals.
The roles were reversed in ' 56 with the first of a hat trick for the Cuchcullainn club. North Antrim claimed the laurals once more with Loughgiel breaking the monopoly...if only temperarily in 1959 only to relinquish the title to the big two of the time as Dunloy and St Malachy's claiming a title a piece in 1960 and ' 61.
DEIRDRE DOMINATE 7-IN-A-ROW!
Deirdre re-emerged in 1962 in devastating fashion and for seven years on the trot, took Antrim's top accolade reigning supreme until 1968.
During this period the Ulster Club Championship came into play. Deirdre etched their name on the cup in it's inaugural year in 1964...a title they won for five unbroken seasons.
In 1969 Ahoghill put the defending champions out in the first round, going on to win their second Antrim club title bridging a gap of twenty-one years.
1969 was also the beginning of one of the darkest periods in Ulsters political turmoil as ' The Troubles' tore at the heart of a community and clubs folded never to return.
An example of the time was the Sean Treacy's club. Three players were interned, one ( Dorothy Maguire) was shot dead by British Troops and the families of countless others were forced to flee across the Boarder.
PORTGLENONE...PRIDE OF THE BANN
Not surprisingly then, as battles raged in Belfast, the next thirteen years were dominated by the country based clubs.
Portglenone emerged a dominant force winning nine titles with Creggan winning four in 1970,1973, 1976 and 1980.
Loughgiel broke the big two hold in 1975.
The Shamrocks returned to the top with a double in 1984 and ' 85 and in the following two years Cushendall and then Ardoyne after their fourth final appearance were crowned for the first time...Senior Champions.
The Bannsiders were back in 1988 after which the legendary Mairead McAtamney bowed out of competitive camogie.
The beginning of an historic club hat-trick awaited Loughgiel in 1989 and Portglenone claimed the last of their eleven titles in 1992.
The final years of the 20th Century belonged almost exclusively Dunloy and Loughgiel who fought one epic battle after another. Dunloy after a meteoric return to top flight camogie took four titles and Loughgiel two. Only Cushendall with a surprise success in 1995 upset the form book of the 'big two'.
The new millennium produced a new force in Antrim ...O'Donovan Rossa
Building on their historic All-Ireland winning Féile team of 1994, the new power house of the modern Antrim Senior Club camogie scene celebrated the return of the O'Duffy cup to Belfast, after an absence of 13 years.
The Glens reclaimed the silverwear in 2001, and drowned the shamrock when the county honours returned to Loughgiel. Rossa hit back in 2002 only to unsuccessfully defend their title to a stronger Dunloy in 2003. The Rossa grip then tightened in 2004 and 2005 and this year they go for an historic hat-trick. Their domination followed the traditional Antrim route with Ulster titles to match. They have also claimed the new Ulster Premier league as their own, taking back to back league and championship Ulster titles.