The GAA in Warrenpoint pre-dates St. Peter's by a considerable span of years for it was in 1888 that the original seed was sown, when the first GAA club, with the name of John Martin's, was formed. The club colours were black and amber strips.
Being adopted on a proposal by John Carr and seconded by Thomas Caulifield the Club maintained this name until the mid twenties until it fell on hard times. In 1931, the GAA club was revived, but because Glenn had registered a new club, John Martin's some months before, the name of St. Peter's was chosen and blue and white were chosen as the club colours.
It is worth noting that the John Martin's of 1888 won the first competition held in Down by beating Mayobridge at Edenmore. The Warrenpoint flute band paraded the victors through Mayobridge village on the occasion.
There are no records of John Martin's winning many more competitions but once St. Peter's found their feet they went on to win the Junior Football Championship in 1932 when they beat Saul in the final.
The Golden era for the 'Point football was in the 40's and 50's when they won three senior titles in 1943, 1948 and 1953 and contributed to a few great finals in which they were the losers. County Junior Championship titles were won in 1932 and 1940. County Intermediate Championships were won in 1972 and 2001. County Minor Championship titles were won in 1950 and 1977. County U-16 Football Championships were won in 1970 and 1986, and the club won the County U-14 Football League Title in 1973, 1987 and 1997. The club holds 4 County Reserve Championships in 1979, 1989, 1992 and 1996.
In 1985 the club won the All Ireland U-14 Gaelic Football All-Ireland Feile Competition held in Cork and in 1988, Saint Peters won the Down U-15 Og sport gaelic football competition.
The Senior football team won the Down ACL Div 2 title in 2008 and will now compete in the Down ACL Div 2, this year, following relegation from Div 1 last year.
In 1975 Warrenpoint won the South Down Club of the Year Award.
In 1981, St. Peter's hosted its Golden Jubilee Celebrations with a Golden Jubilee Dinner in Warrenpoint Town Hall in September 1981, preceeded with an event for all former club senior footballers in the Osbourne Hotel, Warrenpoint.
In 1984, the club organised a range of activities to celebrate the centenary of the GAA.
In 1988, the club celebrated the Centenary of the foundation of the GAA in Warrenpoint with a Centenary Banquet in the Aylesforte House Hotel.
In 2009, the club launched a new Communications Strategy, incorporating the launch of a revised website, the launch of a new club weekly e-newsletter: C.P.N. e-Nuacht on 3 March 2009 and a new club monthly newsletter: "To The Point" on 8 April 2009.
St. Peter's GAA Club Warrenpoint were awarded the prestigious National GAA McNamee Award for Best Modern Technology Innovation (for use of modern technology in relation to the promotion of GAA activity) at an awards presentation ceremony held in Croke Park, Dublin on Sunday evening 16 August 2009.
Presenting the award to St. Peter's GAA Club PRO Feargal McCormack, GAA President Christy Cooney noted the comments of the judging panel were 'a fantastic production of a communications strategy for St. Peter's GAA, Club Co. Down. Not only was their approach multi-faceted, involving many aspects of modern technology, from web page,to e-mail to desktop publishing, but it was implemented to a clear strategy, with clearly defined goals and milestones. They were also not afraid to use tools like Google Analytics to measure performance. As a single broad body of work, it is an outstanding production for a small Club run on a voluntary basis'. The award winning Communications Committee were Cormac Campbell, Thomas Franklin, Conor Keenan, Colm Kernan, Dr. Eoin Magennis, Anne McCormack, Feargal McCormack (Chairman), Ronan McMahon and Michelle Rice.
Club PRO, Feargal McCormack was presented with the Communications Award at the prestigious Ulster GAA Writers Association dinner on 20 November 2009 and in receiving the award, stated that he saw the award as recognition of a great team effort by the Club Communications Committee supported by the Management Committee and members.
The club won the prestigious, Large Club of the Year category at The Irish News Ulster GAA Club and Volunteer Awards on Friday 6 May 2011.
The club received a Club Maith Platinum Accreditation Award from the Ulster GAA Council and Sport NI on 29 October 2011 for GAA club excellence.
The history of the GAA in Warrenpoint wouldn't be complete without reference to the "three warriors" who have given a lifetime of service to the development of the GAA in Warrenpoint for over 60 years each, namely Liam O'Hare, Barney Carr and Ted Bradley. Liam O'Hare was chairman of the club in the 1970's and 1980's for 21 years. Sadly Liam died in August 2008. Barney Carr has held the position of Chairman and treasurer and Ted Bradley, who died in March 2010, was club secretary on a number of occasions and also held the position of club chairman. All three have been trustees of the club for many years.
125 Years of GAA Celebrations
To celebrate the 125 Years of the GAA in 2009, Cumann Pheadair Naofa CLG established a 125 Committee under the chairmanship of Feargal McCormack to co-ordinate the organisation of a calendar of events for the year. Details of the extensive calendar of events held are provided below:
Friday 20 February 2009: Annual Re-union with GAA President Nicky Brennan
Tuesday 3 March: Launch of weekly C.P.N. e-Nuacht
Wednesday 8 April: Launch of 'To The Point' monthly club newsletter and revamped club website www.warrenpointgaa.com. (In the presence of the Sam Maguire Cup and Liam McCarthy Cup)
Friday 24 April: 125 Years Schools Celebrations Day at St. Dallan's Primary School.
Friday 8 May:
7.45pm Launch of St. Peter's GAA History Exhibition
8.00pm Clann Lir by St. Peter's Junior Irish Drama Group
8.15pm Presentation by Barney Carr on the History of the GAA in Warrenpoint
Sunday 10 May: 12noon Special Mass for deceased members of St. Peter's GAA club at Mary Queen of Peace Church, Warrenpoint (Celebrated by Canon Kearney and Fr. Brendan Carr)
Sunday 10 May:
3pm Lá Na gClub Parade, starting at Fire Station along Church Street, round by the Whistledown Hotel and into Warrenpoint Park
4pm Concert in the Band Stand at Warrenpoint Park
5pm Nostalgia Networking in the Clubrooms, Mary Street - tea, coffee, sandwiches etc. with club exhibition also on display in Clubrooms
Saturday 30 May: 9.30am Trip to Croke Park and GAA Museum by Under-age Gaelic Football, Hurling and Camogie teams
Saturday 6 June: 9pm Celebrity Jigs n' Reels competition in The Whistledown Hotel
Saturday 1 August: U-10 Football Inter Club Competition
Sunday 2 August: 125 Float in Maidens of the Mourne International Festival
Sunday 9 August: 125 Year Celebrations Family Fun Day in Clonallon Park
24 - 28 August : Cúl Camp at Moygannon
Saturday 5 September: U-10 Hurling Inter Club Competition
Friday 11 September: Monster Bingo
Saturday 12 September: Internal Underage Football, Hurling and Camogie Blitz competition
Saturday 12 September: Hog Roast Supper and Chevys dance in 125 Grand Marquee
Sunday 13 September: Official Naming of Páirc Liam Uí Ír
Sunday 13 September: Family Barbeque in 125 Grand Marquee
The 125 Celebrations were a tremendous success ranging from the Annual Club Reunion on 20 February 2009 when GAA President Nicky Brennan was the Guest of Honour, to the launch of C.P.N. e-Nuacht, a weekly club e-newsletter, on 2 March 2009 and the launch of To The Point, a monthly colour club magazine, on Wednesday 8 April 2009. The La na gClub weekend Friday 8 - Sunday 10 May 2009 was an overwhelming success with the launch of a St. Peter's GAA history exhibition, and a presentation by Barney Carr on the history of the GAA in Warrenpoint. The La na gClub parade on Sunday 10 May 2009 was a fantastic occasion which included a concert in the Band Stand at Warrenpoint Park. This was followed by a memorable nostalgia networking event at the club exhibition in the Clubrooms, Mary Street.
On 30 May 2009 over 200 under-age footballers, hurlers and camogs travelled to Croke Park to visit Croke Park and the GAA Museum. On 6 June 2009 a Celebrity Jigs and Reels competition attracted a full house at the Whistledown Hotel and as a result was run to a second full house the following evening on Sunday 7 June. This event proved to be one of the social highlights of the year in Warrenpoint and was a very unifying occasion, with all sections of the club involved.
The 125 Celebrations concluded with a very memorable weekend over Friday 11 to Sunday 13 September 2009 to celebrate the renaming of Moygannon Park Páirc Liam Uí Ír. The Friday evening seen a Monster Bingo in the 125 Marquee at the Clubrooms, Mary Street whilst Saturday seen an internal underage blitz competition for hurling, camogie and football and later in the evening the opening of the new 125 Bar in the clubrooms and a Hog Roast Supper and Chevy's dance in the 125 Grand Marquee. The year concluded with the official naming of Páirc Liam Uí Ír on Sunday 13 September, followed by a packed family barbeque in the 125 Grand Marquee at the Clubrooms, Mary Street.
All the 125 events were extremely well supported and the 125 Programme of events was universally acclaimed as a tremendous success and reflected the pride and sense of community for the GAA in the Warrenpoint area.
In addition to Chairman Feargal McCormack the other members of the Cumann Pheadair Naofa 125 Committee were: Eugene (Yogi) Gallagher, Ronan McMahon, Declan McElherron, John Campbell, Pat O'Hare, Cormac McCartney, Ruairi McCartney, Hugh Carr, Thomas Franklin and Brendan Rice.
Club title achievements to date are summarised in Achievements Section on the club website www.warrenpointgaa.com.
The club launched a new Five Year Club Development Plan on 30 March 2010, following extensive work of Club Development Taskforce comprising 26 people under the Chairmanship of Feargal McCormack.
Facilities past and present can be separated between playing fields and clubrooms:
Evolving Playing Fields
For many years the club played at Connolly's field at Moygannon and then at a variety of venues before settling in its current habitat at Moygannon which was purchased in 1972 for £10,000. Dressing rooms and showers were added in the 1980's at a cost of £45,000.
Current Playing Facilities
All Club games are presently catered for across a number of sites within a one mile radius of the town.
In addition to dressing rooms, a new 125 covered enclosed pavillion, incorporating Ladies Toilets and light weight training facilities was provided at Pairc Liam Uí Ír in 2011.
In the 1960's some derelict houses at Mary Street, Warrenpoint were purchased for £50. These were converted into small clubrooms using the voluntary labour of members and friends. The clubrooms were used for meetings, functions and fundraising. There were two rooms (upstairs and downstairs) each approximately 18ft x 25ft. The cost of rebuilding was £2,000 approximately.
At present the club competes in interclub competitions in the following categories:
In the early 1930's St. Peter's had a Hurling team with Brian Gribbon, Secretary and Jim Cassidy, Club Captain of the team. However the game was not played again in the town until the mid 1970's when it was revived under the astute leadership of Liam O'Hare.
In 2008, the Senior Team won the Ulster Hurling League Division 5 title and won promotion from the Down Hurling Division 2 to Division 1.
In 2009, St. Peter's won the Down Junior Hurling Championship for the first time.
Club players have also won All-Ireland Hurling Medals as detailed below:
All Ireland Minor Hurling C Winners 2008:
All Ireland Minor Hurling C Winners 2007:
In addition the club organises a very successful Caman Og Hurling Academy.
Furthermore, it is very encouraging that club hurlers are now performing for Down hurling teams with distinction. Karl Maxwell and Allan Higgins are currently on the Down Senior Hurling panel.
The Camogie Association was founded in 1904 with Newry being the second club formed in Ireland. In 1925 the Betsy Gray Camogie club was founded by the late Sighle Nic an Ultaigh, a lady who played a leading role in the development of Camogie.
Belle O'Loughlin was honoured at 2011 All-Ireland Senior Camogie Final at Croke Park for her efforts in promoting Camogie across the island.
Ladies Gaelic Football
Following a school liaison project with St. Dallan's P.S., St. Peter's decided to launch its first Ladies Gaelic Football initiative with an 8 week Gaelic 4 girls training programme on Saturday 10 March 2012. It is hoped to organise an U-12 Ladies Gaelic Football team, post coaching programme. 61 girls turned up for the first coaching session on Saturday 10 March 2012.
St. Peter's has been at the forefront of providing and encouraging a multitude of ongoing cultural activities and entertainment for a very wide group and on a cross gender basis. In the early 1970's, starting in 1972 the club organised a very successful Feile an Phointe, during the first two weeks of June.
The club has been very active in the GAA Scor, cultural competitions and has been successful at All-Ireland level in both Scor and Scor na nOg competitions. In 1978 the Junior team won the All-Ireland Scor na nOg Ceili Dancing Title. Warrenpoint won the All-Ireland Scor Set Dancing Title in 1982 and after many years of winning County and Ulster titles the club won the prestigious Scor All-Ireland quiz title in 1996. The winning quiz team members were Sheila McAnulty, Matt Durkin and Hugh Carr. In addition, as highlighted in the Achievements section of the website, Warrenpoint has won four Ulster Scor Sinsear Titles and forty seven Down Scor Sinsear Titles. The club has also won 2 Ulster Scor Na nOg Titles and 26 Down Scor Na nOg Titles.
The club is proud to have been at the forefront of the revival of Irish Set Dancing and for over 20 years, commencing in 1978 organised annual set dancing competitions and workshops. An exciting European dimension was developed in 1993 when St. Peter's Set Dancers along with a company of musicians and singers, led by Moya McCormack, Liam O'Hare and Ted Bradley travelled to Normandy to participate in the annual Normandy Cultural Festival. Whilst in Liseux in Normandy, the Troupe performed at five venues and were hosted to a civic reception by the Mayor. The following year in 1994, Warrenpoint hosted a Troupe of French dancers and musicians from the Liseux area. In November 2008, the club organised a major set dancing competition, the Moya McCormack Memorial Competition in honour of Moya McCormack, who died on 4 April 2008, having given a lifetime of service promoting Irish dancing and Culture activities in Warrenpoint and Co. Down.
Irish language classes have been a feature of the club activities for over 50 years, with Joe Lambe, Jimmy Devlin, Pat Ahern and Ted Bradley pioneering these activities initially and the tradition is carried on by Hugh Carr and Louise Carr. Classes were organised for adults and children and the club members participate annually in Feis an Duin.
Cumann Pheadair Naofa retained its All-Ireland Schools Irish Drama Festival (An Cumann Scoil Drámaiochata) title in Mullingar on Wednesday 13 April 2011, when they performed their Irish Language Play, Fear Draíochta Oz (The Wizard of Oz with an Irish twist).
Cumann Ogra Naomh Peadar, St. Peter's GAA Youth Irish Drama Group had a great triumph at the Newry Irish Drama Festival (Feile An Iuír 2012) on Friday 9 March 2012, when their play "Ar Bord na Loinge" (a Play about the Titanic) won four awards. The play involving 25 club members under the age of 12, was written and directed by Hugh Carr and Louise Carr, won the Best Youth Club Award, Best New Script Award and Best Overall Production Award. In addition Ruairi McCormack won the Best Actor Award for his performance of Sean da Burca.
The club is very proud of the achievements of its Brass band section formed in 1971, and has won a number of All-Ireland Awards including 3 All-Ireland National Intermediate titles in 1975, 1981 and 1984 and has played at prestigious events throughout Ireland. The band has been at the forefront of cross community activities and has joined up with the Warrenpoint Silver band on numerous occasions. St. Peter's Brass Band played at Croke Park in 1973 at the Tyrone v Cork, All-Ireland Senior Football semi-final and also played for Pope John Paul II, when he visited Drogheda in 1979. For further details on band see www.stpetersgaaband.com.
The Band will celebrate its 40th Anniversary with a Band Concert in Warrenpoint Town Hall on Friday 16 March 2012.
In recent times a closer association has built up between Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, Craobh an Phointe and Cumann Pheadair Naofa. In 2010 the Club won its first County Scor Na nOg Instrumental Music Title.
From 1973 to 1986, there was a drama group within the club, and many outstanding productions followed. In the past its drama section performed such plays as "All the Kings Horses", produced by John McMahon, "Drama at Inish", "Our Town" and "The Diary of Anne Frank". Indeed in 1976 it won the Ballymoney Drama Festival performing "The Diary of Anne Frank" (produced by Pat Mooney) and Geraldine Smyth won the Best Actress Award for her part as Anne Frank. In recent years the Irish language section have won prizes at Féile Scoil Drámaíochta and in 2010 won the All Ireland competition in Mullingar.
St. Peter's GAA Club has historically played a pivotal role in local community life for successive generations within the Warrenpoint area since its foundation over 100 years ago in 1888. The Club has a proven record of voluntary endeavour and community commitment, in the provision of sporting and cultural activity.
For over 100 years, St. Peter's Club has been in the forefront of promoting sport and cultural activities for the youth of the area. The Junior Committee is very active in organising coaching, games and social activities for youth members. The Club has also enjoyed very strong links with local primary and post primary schools.
Contribution To Down
Over the years, the club has made a substantial contribution to Down football with many outstanding players in every decade since the 1930's. Tom O'Hare was a member of the Junior team beaten by Louth in the Junior semi-final of 1934.
Peter Rooney was also selected in the top 125 Ulster Gaelic Footballers in the 125 Years History of the GAA by the Irish News in 2009.
The Club continues to provide many players to County Football, Hurling and Camogie teams.
In 2009, Cumann Pheadair Naofa had the unique achivement of boasting the captain of both the Down Minor Football Team (Ross McGarry) and the Down Minor Hurling Team (Matthew Teague).
In 2009, Club referee Brendan Rice, won the South Down Referee of the Year Award. In the past club referee Micheal Cranny refereed a number of County Finals and was an established inter-county referee. Indeed in 2009, the club's three referees, all refereed Down County Finals: Brendan Rice (Intermediate Football Championship Final); Declan Ryan (Division 4 County Football League Final); and Gerry Couglan (Under-age Hurling Final).
In 2011, Club Referee Brendan Rice had the honour of refereeing the Down County Senior Football Championship Final.
For many years Eamon O'Hare was a coaching co-ordinator for the County.
On the administrative side there has been a fair contribution also, with the club providing three County Chairmen. As far back as the mid 20's Warrenpoint man Paddy McGivern had a spell as County chairman. Father Alex McMullan during his time in Warrenpoint held the position for six years and more recently Donal McCormack has made his mark first as County chairman and then as County secretary.
Leaving all the foregoing aside, one of the biggest single contributions made to the association in Down was the County history (O'Shiol go Blath) by club member Sile Nic Ultaigh. Sile was a very distinguished club member, known the length and breath of Ireland. O'Shiol go Blath won a national GAA McNamee Communications Award.
The late Dan O'Rourke of Roscommon was a teacher in Warrenpoint in the 1920's and took an interest in the club, when he was in the town. He later became President of the GAA.
In the wider community as a result of the high level of Warrenpoint involvement in Gaelic Sport, and of the achievements of its players, administrators and members over the years, the club is very well known in County Down, throughout Ulster and indeed at National GAA level. This profile has been further enhanced by the increased media coverage of Gaelic games in recent years.
It should be noted that club member Feargal McCormack along with Colm Fitzpatrick (Rostrevor) was responsible for the highly acclaimed Media Report in 1982 which carried out detailed emperical market research of GAA coverage in the media in Ulster in terms of newspapers, TV stations and radio. The report published in October 1982 is recognised as the starting point for the commencement of major negotiations with UTV, BBC and the Belfast Telegraph to significantly improve media coverage of GAA activities.
In 1984 as part of the GAA Centenary Celebrations, club member, Feargal McCormack, was chosen as the Youth Representative in the 100 personalities chosen by the GAA to celebrate its Centenary at a State Banquet at Dublin Castle, hosted by the then Taoiseach Dr. Garret Fitzgerald.
Ronan McMahon as County P.R.O. in 2010 was presented with the Ulster GAA Young Official of the Year Award by the Ulster GAA President.
In 2010, Club P.R.O. and Development Officer, Feargal McCormack chaired the Down GAA Congress Host Committee which organised the GAA 2010 Congress at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle.
In November 2010, club trustee Barney Carr, was awarded the South Down GAA Hall of Fame Award at the South Down GAA Awards Dinner.