There is a strong tradition of hurling activity in Carrigaline and its surrounds going back hundreds of years. The modern founding of the club traces back to circa 1884 as Carrigaline joined the GAA shortly after the association came into existence. For many years the club played its games in various locations in and around the village. Scriven’s field (where Hillview estate now resides), Cogans on the Cork Road and Carty McCarthy’s field at Pipers Cross were all venues used for matches. In these early days teams consisted of twenty one players, then seventeen and finally the modern number of fifteen in 1912.
The club were forced to disband for a brief period during the War of Independence 1920-1922. In these early days there was a political as well as a sporting purpose to the Association. There was considerable IRA activity in the area and a number of the players were actively involved or supported the cause. As a result some players were “on the run” from the authorities and therefore were unable to gather for matches for fear of being apprehended. It was a mammoth task to reorganise the club after 1922 as many players had left or were in the army, but it was also a time of growth and renewal as in the period 1922 to 1936 many great players represented the club. Indeed, Carrigaline earned the nickname “The Carrig Greyhounds” due to their renowned speed and skill, winning the South East league in 1925, again in 1926, with the championship also arriving in Carrigaline the same year.
Hurleys were sourced and produced locally in the early days with many suitable ash cuttings taken to Roberts saw mill for slicing, before rough cuts were lovingly shaped and custom made to order by people like Danny Patterson and the O Regan family, who were harness makers of Main Street, Carrigaline. Before the club colours settled on the current blue and amber the colours underwent many different changes. A red, yellow and black strip was replaced by a blue jersey and white shorts. As the playing kit changed so often did the colours. In the late 1920’s it changed again from blue with black hoops to something more like the modern blue with yellow hoops around 1930. Into the 1930’s the club were fielding junior and minor teams in both hurling and football at the adult grade.
During the war years known as “the emergency” in the 26 counties the club, like society in general, faced many challenges. Playing spaces were at a premium due to the Free State’s compulsory tillage order on fields. This was compounded by the rationing of basic goods such as petrol during World War II. Transport to and from games became a particular challenge with walking to matches the norm, especially for underage games. The club faced another crisis during this period as, at the end of the 1942 season, the club failed to elect a committee for the first time in living memory. Carrigaline didn’t enter the championship that year and Ballymartlye were given a bye in the first round.
As before, Carrigaline was soon be revitalised as a new young team rose up to give the club some of its best memories and a spell of time in the Intermediate ranks for the first time in its history. The club’s new impetus culminated in the 1947 season with a victory in the hurling championship over Ballinhassig – adding to championship titles for both minor hurling and football teams. The club decided on the back of this success to compete at the Intermediate hurling grade in the following season. The minor hurling team went on a run in the 1951 season taking them all the way to the county final only to be defeated by a Glen Rovers team with seven of Cork’s minor All-Ireland championship winning team. P. Drievens of Carrigaline also starred for the Cork minors that year.
In 1955 Carrigaline finally found a permanent home with the purchase of Tom Morgan’s field at the current Crosshaven Road site. The club seemed to be going from strength to strength on the field with the club taking the hurling league that in 1957 and the footballers taking the South East Championship with a victory over Valley Rovers. The late 1960’s saw Carrigaline completing a hat-trick of championship victories in Junior football between 1967 and 1969, but the Intermediate hurlers were in decline and returned to the junior ranks for the 1970 season. In more recent times the club opened its new pavilion and hall in 1980 with Wexford providing the opposition for Cork’s Senior and U21 teams on the day.
Further developments occurred with the arrival of the second pitch in the late 1980’s and four new dressing rooms in more recent times. Carrigaline secured a hurling and football championship double in the same year as the Cork Seniors, 1990. Through that decade the club’s teams competed at the Intermediate grade at both hurling and football. After several attempts and much heartbreak during the 1990’s and 2000’s, the club finally landed its first adult county success with a victory over Bandon in the 2008 county hurling final. The footballers followed up on that success with a hard fought victory over Cill na Matra in 2009 to eclipse the disappointments of previous years. As the club looks to the future the Senior ranks beckon, and with hard work by all, as shown in years gone by, Carrigaline can be assured further success into the future.