History of Naomh Malachi GFC
In late 1966, a large and enthusiastic meeting held in Shelagh School, resulted in the establishment of the Naomh Malachi CLG. Club stalwarts Eamon Laverty, Mick Daly and Peter Rooney were prominent figures at the first meeting.
Junior Football Championship Success 1979
Under the guidance of John Jones, Fr Donal Sweeney and Eamon Laverty, the club enjoyed their first championship title win in 1979, overcoming Naomh Martin on a score-line of Naomh Malachi 0-8 to Naomh Martin 1-1. Later that same year the border club would go on to add the Drogheda and Dundalk Dairies Shield to the Christy Bellew Cup capping off a fine season for the men in red.
In compliance with an appeal from the G.A.A. hierarchy for all clubs to have their own grounds by Centenary Year 1984, Naomh Malachi began the next phase of their existence – thus life in Courtbane began.
After the development of a new pitch, clubrooms were the next major project and resulted in the creation of the complex which to this day services all the community of the district. On the evening of the 26th July 1984, Naomh Malachi played host to the O’Connells in the first match on the new pitch. A vital league encounter, as both sides were playing to avoid relegation saw Naomh Malachi emerge victors after a close encounter.
So Near, but yet so Far 1988 & 1990
After establishing themselves as a strong second tier outfit over the interim years, the club suffered heartache twice in three seasons in reaching the Intermediate Football Championship Finals in both 1988 and 1990 before succumbing to defeats to Naomh Martin and St Joseph’s respectively.
Intermediate Championship Success – At Last!
The foundations to the clubs first IFC success in 2002 were laid in the years prior. Following wins in the late 90s in the McGahon Cup and Kavanagh Tournament, the Grogan Cup was added in early 2002. Later that year, the club marshalled by Crossmaglen man Michael McConville and club stalwarts Peter Rogers and Declan Woods led a youthful side to their IFC success overcoming a tough Geraldines side 3-8 to 2-8 in Dowdallshill.
With Senior football experienced for the first time in Courtbane in the clubs history in 2003, a new era beckoned for all concerned with Naomh Malachi. Over the coming years the highs of Dowdallshill were matched with the lows of relegation to Stabannon and a return to the second grade of Louth football.
After the disappointment of the IFC Final defeat to the Geraldines in 2005, a determined Naomh Malachi outfit would regroup 12 months later, and realise their dream of another IFC win – this time round overcoming the men from Castlebellingham with Paul Turley, Rogers and Woods at the helm. An historic year would see the Courtbane men represent Louth in the Leinster Intermediate Championship before finally falling at the hands of Kildare’s Confey.
Reaching the Cardinal O’Donnell Cup Final against Cooley Kickhams in 2007 under the management of Peadar Gallagher, Rogers and Woods has been a highlight in recent years and though the club dropped to IFC status again in 2008, the determination of both the management and players sees Naomh Malachi back in the IFC Final at the first time of asking.
Many additions and improvements have taken place to the grounds since its move back in 1984; the erection of a perimeter wall, entrance gates, tree shelter belt and the creation of the original stand and press box, dugouts and ball-stop netting.
Further work was completed prior to the Official Opening of the Field in 2000, where two new larger dressing rooms were built, along with a new pay box facility, which followed suit in 2001.
At the beginning of 2003, further club development took place. Plans were drawn up to refurbish the existing clubrooms, which culminated in the present day facility re-opening in November of the same year.
Currently the installation of a new flood lighting system, the re-development of the training field and the refurbishment of our initial dressing rooms are on-going projects.