GAA in Monaghan
The formal GAA in Monaghan dates from 1887 when the first County Board was established. That early momentum was maintained as the County (represented by Inniskeen), went on to win the first-ever Ulster Senior Football Championship in 1888. Monaghan’s GAA resurgence took nearly a decade-and-a-half to come about but in 1906 a first-ever Ulster SFC Final (albeit the 1904 one) was played in Clones and a year later Monaghan had regained the Ulster SFC title (the 1906 one which had been delayed until 1907). By 1917 four more Ulster titles were added, followed by another five in the 1920s. Monaghan won the first two Dr. McKenna Cup competitions in 1927 and 1928.
Monaghan started a run of six McKenna Cup Finals in-a-row in 1932. In 1956 Monaghan win a Junior All-Ireland Championship title in another highly acclaimed final.
The Ulster SFC title was regained after a 41-year absence in 1979 and won again in 1985 and 1988. In many ways the Monaghan team of the 1980s contributed hugely to an Ulster renaissance, particularly via winning a first National League title in 1985. However, 1988 will be remembered for the Ulster win over Tyrone. An interesting facet of this particular game was that all Monaghan’s scores came from play. In 1981 Monaghan Under 21s celebrated the County’s first Ulster Under 21 Football title.
2005 was another memorable year for the county when they contested and won the Division 2 National Football League final against Meath gaining promotion to Division 1 for the first time in 18 years. In 2013 Monaghan won the Ulster Senior Football Championship closing a significant gap of 25 years with a dramatic win against Donegal. This result was coupled with the Minors superb comeback win earlier in the day defeating Tyrone to complete an historic double.
2015 Monaghan once again experienced St Tiernach’s Park on Ulster Final Day with Donegal supplying the opposition. The Anglo Celt Cup returned to Monaghan as St Tiernach’s Park was invaded by the sea of white and blue when the final whistle went.
Monaghan Under 21s were crowned 2016 Ulster Championship in the Athletic Grounds, Armagh after defeating Tyrone in a pulsating final. 2018 Monaghan Senior team entered into the Super 8s of the All-Ireland series of the Championship and delivered some exhibitions of football along the way. In particular beating Galway in Salthill which secured the county an All-Ireland semi-final spot for the first time in 30 years. They were narrowly defeated by Tyrone in the Semi Final coupled with the Ulster winning Minor team falling at the same hurdle against a Kerry side. Repeating the legacy of the1940 and 1945 minor team the 2019 Monaghan Minors won Back-to-Back Ulster Championship titles as the Fr Murray Cup remained in Monaghan for another year.
Hurling meanwhile was not neglected and Monaghan County teams have the following achievements in hurling. All-Ireland Junior Champions in 1997. Ulster Junior Hurling Champions in 1971, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1997 and 1998 Ulster Senior Hurling Champions in 1914 & 1915. And National Hurling League Winners in 2008 and 2010. Beyond the games Monaghan has been a persistent and Strong presence in Scór with numerous Ulster and All Ireland titles. Handball has a strong tradition within the county. Monaghan has enjoyed several major national successes in recent years in handball, such as All Ireland 40×20 Singles titles. The sport of handball continues to grow within the county, with clubs providing Handball facilities, namely in the form of 40×20, Wallball/One-wall and/or 60×30 handball courts. New handball courts have been built in recent years with Truagh Gaels GAA Club (new 40×20 court), Scotstown GAA Club (new Wallball court) & Bawn GAA Handball Club (new 40×20 court) all building new courts respectively.