Raonaithe Airgidín Cumann Lúthchleas Gael
An scéal go dtí seo.
Timoleague or Tigh Molaga (House of St. Molaga) has a rich heritage. Some 1400 years ago, St. Molaga built a place of worship at the mouth of the Argideen (Silver Stream). Later, a Franciscan Friary was founded in the 13th century and became a centre of learning. In medieval times, the town had considerable importance, being a strategic trading point on the highway from Kinsale to Baltimore. Its flourishing markets and many hostelries were popular with the Spanish merchants and Irish gentlemen who traded in the port town.
Hurling has a rich and diverse history in the parish. However early records are understandably sketchy. There is a record of a match between Clogagh and Desert in 1858, where “sixteen men played for fifteen minutes”. The match had been a month in planning and drew a huge crowd, with Clogagh the ultimate victors.
Argideen Rangers G.A.A. club itself, can trace its roots back as far as 1892. It’s hard to imagine this period of time, but some events that history has recorded can set the scene; the railway had just arrived in Timoleague, Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was published and St. Molaga’s played gaelic football for the first time, high up over the village in Ardmore!
The years leading up to the arrival of organised G.A.A. activities in Timoleague were turbulent and dynamic. An increased sense of nationalism resulted in the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884. Douglas Hyde and the Gaelic League tapped into a sense of passion for our teanga dhúchais. A renaissance in the world of literature and theatre took place as the fight for Home Rule was intensified. A rugby team existed in Timoleague at the time and thus in 1892, 8 years after the founding of the G.A.A., a gaelic football team from Timoleague was fielded.
The coming of the Cork, Bandon and South Coast Railway to Timoleague was a huge catalyst for the founding of the club. John Burke, a railway employee, organised a football tournament in 1892 with the home team, St. Molagas, Clonakilty and Bandon Shamrocks taking part. The Gaelic Athletic Association, in it’s infancy, considered the competition a very significant one indeed. The then county board chairman, Michael Deering, refereed the game. He later became the organisation’s president. Hundreds of supporters arrived by train to the final, the village was crowded and reinforcements were called in. The R.I.C.closed all the pubs which caused consternation amongst the large crowd!
The next mention of hurling in the area was in 1907, when Clogagh played Kilbrittain in the West Cork final. Kilbrittain won, but Clogagh were awarded the match by the West Cork Committee. Kilbrittain were none too happy with this and were successful in their appeal to the county board. Timoleague had another period of success in the 1930’s and defeated Bandon in the West Cork hurling final of 1934. However at a time when politics and sport were very closely entwined, the result was overturned in the boardroom as a result of an objection.
After another barren period, Timoleague contested the 1954 Junior B football final against Carbery Rangers. An amalgamation at underage level with Ballinascarthy, saw a parish minor team claim divisional football honours in 1964 and 1965. The Timoleague adult club won a Junior B football league and championship double in 1967.
It was now time to find a more permanent home for the G.A.A. club. As mentioned previously, Ardmore was a venue in the early days. The pitch was at Ardmore cross, on the left hand side above the road to Lettercolum. The field was known by many as “the football field”. In 1967-69 a pitch owned by Lawrence McCarthy, near Fehilly's house in Maryboro, was used (to get to this pitch, pass Denis O’ Mahony’s house, turn right at next crossroads and the field is on your left). A few years later the club moved to Lettercolum with an entrance over the river from the BarrysHall road. A stream was used for showering facilities at this venue! Aunty Jo Foley owned this land and it now belongs to Mrs. Whooley. Con Cashman’s field in Clogagh was another playing venue used in the late seventies before the current pitch was opened in 1980. A game was also played in the 1950's in Griffin's field (first field on the Burren Road). All a far cry from the modern pitch (opened in 1980), astroturf (2011) and clubhouse (2015) located in Lady's Well.
It was the resurgence of the club at underage level in 1979 that really sowed the seeds for future success. Divisional and county titles at Under 12, 14, 16 and minor level in both codes produced a supply line of players that formed the bedrock of the club as it stands today. Adult titles soon followed. The club’s first adult hurling title was the 1982 Junior B hurling league. Junior B championship victories in 1985 (hurling) and 1987 (football) led to our first county title in 1993 in Junior B football. A coveted West Cork junior A football title followed in 1994. West Cork Junior A hurling titles followed in 1993, 1996 and 2003. Three more county Junior B football titles (2001, 2008 and 2017) were annexed. The club’s first county title in hurling was in 1996 at Junior A level, followed by the greatest day the club has experienced thus far - a County Intermediate hurling championship in 2005.
It is quite a feat that a club that draws its players from half of one parish, can claim so much success on the field. The club catchment area is limited, measuring a little over 2 miles X 2 miles, and surrounded by strong clubs like Barryroe to the South, Clonakilty to the West, Ballinascarthy to the North and Kilbrittain to the East with a dividing line at the Bandon bridge, a few steps from Timoleague village centre!
Argideen Rangers has provided many players to Cork teams in recent years. At adult level, the list is mainly made up of hurlers and includes Dinny O’ Mahony (football), Mark Foley, Barry Harte (hurling and football), Tony Crowley, Mikey Walsh, Seán Foley, Michael O’ Callaghan, Rory O’ Sullivan (hurling and football), John Sheehan, Paudie Butler and yet more to come. Timoleague ladies who represented Cork at adult level in camogie include Hannah Dinneen, Valerie O’ Keeffe and Marion Murphy while Máiread Whooley played ladies football.
In recent years, a lack of numbers at underage level has necessitated an amalgamation at certain age groups with neighbours Barryroe to form Ibane Gaels in 2012. It has helped ensure underage players play meaningful and competitive games to a high standard and ensuring the continued success of Argideen Rangers.