The Dwyers


The history of Gaelic games in Tannaghmore goes away back to 1909, when a Lurgan team, the Davitt’s, obtained a playing pitch from Mrs. Ferris. While this was a start for football in the area, the team was not essentially a “Tannaghmore and district one,” and so a few of the local lads convened a meeting at which was born the Dwyers, a team and a name famed even to this day.

The men who first started the Dwyers were Jack McKavanagh, chairman; Bob McCorry, secretary, and William John Leathem, treasurer, assisted by Mickey and Willie Henderson and James Mallon. They obtained a field from Frank McKavanagh at Milltown; there they played their first match in the South-West Antrim League about September, 1910, their opponents being the Davitt’s. It will be of interest to recall the names of the players who turned out for the Dwyers in that memorable game. They were: John Dummigan, Joey McGeown, Nially McAlinden, Willie John Leathem, Josie McSherry, Hughie Mallon, Willie, Tommy, and Mickey Henderson, Jack Casey, Jim McAlinden, Paddy Tennyson, Pat McStay, Paddy Gallery, Johnny Thompson, Ned Heaney, and Jimmy Blaney.

The Dwyers played for about a year at the Milltown, and then transferred their headquarters to Ferris’s field in Tannaghmore, the Davitts having by then transferred to Straid Park in Lurgan. They remained in the South-West Antrim League until 1915-16, in which season they met with their first success by winning the League championship.
In this period of our history it was very difficult to keep a team going, and we find that the Dwyers went out of football for a season.

A year out of football, however, did not daunt the local lads, who were determined to keep the old flag flying in Tannaghmore, and so, to get things going again, a meeting was held in Ned Heaney’s, Killaughey, on the 29th June, 1917. In attendance at that meeting were James McClements, Tommy and Mickey Henderson, James Henry Walsh, and Ned Heaney, five men who guided the destinies of the red and green striped Dwyers right down until 1924 and their greatest triumph. In the last named year they won the
much coveted Antrim Junior County championship and Gola Cup, defeating in the final the strongly fancied and very confident Davitts. The team on that great occasion was Jim Creaney, Mickey Henderson, Frank Cochrane, Felix Devlin, Jack Thompson, Davy Hall, Frank Burns, Joe Henderson, Vincent Fannon, Ned Heaney, Urban Magee, and Jimmy Haughey.

Against the Dwyers of those days there was little or no opposition worthy of their mettle, and as a result around 1924 the old stalwarts broke up and scattered. A couple of years later Mickey Henderson, James H. Walsh, James McRoberts, Felix McCann, Jos. Creaney, and a few others commenced building up a new team, but it went out of existence at the end of the 1929 season, and so ended in Tannaghmore the honoured name of Dwyers.

Down the years since then new names and new teams have taken the field, and the old name of the Dwyers is now only a memory to be associated always with that period of our history from 1919 to 1929. But the history of the Dwyers would be incomplete without mention of a few of the lads who rendered sterling service during that time, notably Joe McAlinden, John Cottney, John and Jocky Keenan, Joe Lavery, Charles Quinn, Patsy Haughey, and Joe Barbour.