Shannon Medals GAA Tournament – Saturday March 25
The revived Shannon Medals GAA Tournament, first played in 1960, will welcome GAA football teams from Mayo, Donegal, Tyrone and Roscommon for a one-day football blitz
Saturday, March 25 is a day for GAA fans far and near not to miss, as Ballina’s legendary Shannon Medals Football Tournament is revived after a three-decade absence as part of the Ballina 2023 celebrations. In a unique collaboration, Ballina Stephenites and Knockmore GAA will welcome visiting teams from St Eunan’s of Letterkenny, An Charraig Mhór Naomh Colmcille of Tyrone and Roscommon Gaels, for a one-day series of games at senior level, with Kilmoremoy LGFA hosting an underage blitz on Sunday, March 26.*
The Shannon Medals GAA Tournament is proudly supported by Joseph Murphy Ballina Moy Tools & Hardware.
*Update 21 March 2023: A Kilmoremoy LGFA Underage Blitz will take place at a later date, when weather conditions are more favourable.
About our Sponsor
For over 107 years, Joseph Murphy Ballina LTD (JMBL) has been a leading wholesale distributor in the Hardware, Agri & DIY Industry operating from a 40,000sqft HQ based in Ballina, supplying their MOY branded products to leading garden centres and hardware stores nationwide. They continually develop new product ranges including their own MOY brands, which encompass MOY Agri, MOY Tools, MOY ladders and much more. Check out josephmurphy.ie for more details.
The first games will throw in at 1pm and the event will run until 6pm that evening, with fixtures set for Ballina Stephenites GAA Club (front pitch and Showgrounds pitch) and St Muredach’s College.
The competition format will be a blitz-style league. Each team will play five games in total and each team will play every other team once. Games will be 30 minutes long with 15-minute halves, 15-a-side, with unlimited subs. Substitutions will be made through a fourth official. The league rules are three points for a win, and one point for a draw. If two teams end on the same points, score difference will be used. In the unlikely scenario of equal scores, a penalty shoot-out will decide the winner.
Supporters are welcome to come along and enjoy the action for free.
Schedule of Senior Fixtures
Organiser of the event, former Mayo GAA and current Ballina Stephenites footballer Ger Cafferkey, said: “The Shannon Medals Tournament is a legendary competition around Ballina. I’ve really enjoyed talking to former Ballina Stephenites players and players from other clubs who participated in the past about the battles on the pitch and the antics in the clubhouse afterwards, and we’re excited to see where the revival of the tournament takes us this year.”
Kenneth Lavelle, Purchasing Manager with Joseph Murphy Ballina Ltd said: “JMBL and the MOY brand are very proud to sponsor the Shannon Medals 2023 and we wish all the teams a fantastic day on the 25th. It is amazing to see this event return after over 30 years and what great work Ballina 2023 are doing this year. Best of luck to all the teams, I am sure it will be great day for all!”
Former Ballina Stephenites legend, Denis Coen, is in his third year as the full-time High Performance and Mental Conditioning Coach with An Charraig Mhór Naomh Colmcille in Carrickmore GAA, Tyrone. He said: “We, the management, players, backroom team and officers of the club are really excited about the Shannon Medals Tournament and see it as an opportunity to compete and showcase the quality, brand and philosophy of football we play. I see many similarities in the style, youth, vibrance, talent, pride and tradition of both my home club Ballina Stephenites and An Charraig Mhór Naomh Colmcille.”
Current Ballina Stephenites manager, Niall Heffernan is exiled in Claremorris but played in the Shannon Medals Tournament from 1977 to 1981 and has fond memories: “This was the tournament we looked forward to every year. There was always a great mix of teams, top class competition and great camaraderie in the evenings.”
History of the tournament
The original Shannon Medals tournament was initiated back in 1960 as a fundraiser for improvements to James Stephens’ Park, and visiting clubs at the time included Tuam Stars, Dunmore MacHales, Castlebar Mitchels, Clerical Students, Western Command and Claremorris GAA. Over the years, the event became a much beloved highlight in the west of Ireland GAA social calendar, as well as offering good competitive games for the participating clubs. The tournament is named for Ballina native and donor of the competition’s original gold medals, Dick Shannon. Dick lined out for Ballina Stephenites and New York GAA, where he eventually settled.
Says Ballina Stephenites stalwart, Tommy Knight: “Congratulations to all involved in the resurrection of the age-old tournament in Ballina, the Ballina Stephenites Shannon Medals. I note the listings of teams from the days of yore and wish to point out that teams from Sligo that also took part, namely St. Mary’s, St Pat’s Dromard and as far as I can recall Easkey Sea Blues!! We as Stephenites had some great battles with them as well! Actually players from Sligo town St Mary’s in later years credited the tournament mid-week games in Ballina to the success of their breakthrough in Sligo and indeed in Connacht – they went on to win a few Connacht Club titles. Great days, great times and of course great memories – not to mention the lifetime friendships.”
Where are the original Shannon Medals?
The revival of the tournament brings with it the question – where are the Shannon Medals today? Are there former players or family members out there with a rare Shannon Medal in their possession? If so, they are warmly invited to get in touch with Ballina 2023 via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, so they can be acknowledged on the day.