The History of Offaly G.A.A.
Offaly built it's own tradition
That Offaly holds a unique place in the annals of Gaelic Games there can be no doubt, every player who dons' a county jersey be it with All-Ireland champions Galway or lowly Kilkenny in football, Champions Offaly or strugglers Monaghan in hurling, they all have a dream. Bur few counties can dream of success in both hurling and football. Apart from Cork's unique achievement in 1990 of winning the All-Ireland Senior Double, no other county can come near the achievements of Offaly, in both codes, over the past 30 years.
Since Willie Bryan brought the Sam Maguire to Offaly for the 1st time in 1971 our success rate at all grades of hurling and football has been staggering, to say the list is impressive is an understatement:-
3 All-Ireland Senior Football Titles (1971, 72 & 82),
4 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Titles (1981, 85, 94 & 98),
3 All-Ireland Minor Hurling Titles (1986, 87 & 89),
1 U21 Football All-Ireland Title (1988)
Contesting Minor Football & U21 Hurling All-Ireland's Finals,
National Hurling League Champions (1991),
National Football League Champions (1998),
7 Leinster Senior Football Titles,
9 Leinster Senior Hurling Titles,
7 Leinster U21 Football Titles,
5 Leinster U21 Hurling Titles,
4 Leinster Minor Hurling Titles and
2 Leinster Minor Football Title,
The list goes on ....
And all this for a county with less than 60,000 souls (the population of any large Dublin suburb), a county that is equally divided between hurling and football, so in effect we are similar to a county with less than 30,000 people. So what is it that makes Offaly special?, what is it that gives Offaly players that extra edge in confidence when they go out on centre-stage at Croke Pk? That is a question that may never be answered, we have no so called tradition, like the Tipperary's, Kilkenny's and Cork in hurling or the Kerry's and Dublin in football. But we have built our own tradition, a tradition based on a belief that if we could once make the break through we would hold our place among the greats. This belief was manifest from an early stage the Junior Hurlers of 1915 and again in '23 and '29 would perhaps have gone on to greater success had it not been for the ravages of emigration. The Minor Football title of 1947 was surely the foundation for the senior success that followed in the 60's, 70' and 80's and that has now re-emerged in the 90's.
Offaly has proven that tradition is not just about All-Ireland titles but about the tireless work of many many people both at Administrative level and on the playing fields who for over 80 years kept a dream alive, and surely the prophetic words of the then Leinster Council Secretary Martin O'Neill over 60 years ago when he proclaimed Offaly "The Faithful County", were borne out when that dream finally became a reality first, with the Footballers in 1971 and again with the success of the hurlers in 1981
Offaly awoke never more to sleep!