The founding members were Joe Brady (Plush), Jimmy Reilly and Hugh Brady (Drumalurk), Pat McGowan, Johnny Brogan, Pat Rahill, James Teevan – all from Kilnaglare, Mickey King and Jimmy Maguire. James Teevan captained the team and held the title ‘Captain Teevan’ until the day he died.
At that time teams consisted of 21 players – 42 players on a small field at the same time – it was a recipe for rows and over physical exchanges.
After 1903 the numbers were reduced to 17 players on each side.
In the early teens the numbers were further reduced to 15 players.
In 1919 Butlersbridge Emmett’s contested their first Junior final against Bailieborough only to lose by a single point. (Read more 1.)
In 1930 a strong Butlersbridge team reached the Junior semi-final against Tullyvin. Again they lost narrowly on the day. (Read more 2.)
In the 1940’s players from Butlersbridge went to play with Ashgrove and Cavan Harps. (Read more 3.)
The 1950’s started promising for the ‘Bridge. In 1952 they defeated a strong Cormore team in the Junior Championship semi-final. They were pitted against a star studded Cootehill team in the final and again lost out on the day. (Read more 4.)
In 1953 the minor team brought the first cup to the village. They beat Kingscourt in the final. (Read more 5.) (Picture)
In 1956 Butlersbridge reached both the League and Championship semi-finals only to be beaten by Killinkere in both.
With the coming of the 60’s a strong team was welded together and in 1963 Butlersbridge won the Cavan Junior Championship for the first time beating Killinkere in the final. (Read more 6.)
1974 brought the next Championship success with a great win over Mullahoran in the final. Later that year the team completed a League and Championship double, defeating Kill in the league final. (Read more 7.)
All down the years Butlersbridge played most of their home games in Brian Myles’ field which was known as ‘Myles’ Bottom’ – the scene of many great battles – in the best sense of the word.
With a growing young population huge efforts were being made to acquire a football pitch close to the village. These efforts were rewarded in 1986 when the present Paírc Emmett was purchased. (Read more 8.)
Through the 80’s and 90’s the Junior team came close to Championship honours but were unsuccessful, they did however win League titles in 1998 and.
In 1999 a well drilled team under manager Felim Plunkett came very close to winning the Junior Championship only to be pipped by neighbours Drumlane.
The next ten years were something of a golden age for Butlersbridge football with the team winning 3 Junior Championships and taking the Sean Leddy Memorial Cup to the village in 2002, 2004 and 2009. (Read more 9.)
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That win for Bailieborough came in the last minute of the game from a pointed free. Prominent Butlersbridge players in that final were Mick Browne. The Sheridan brothers, Masterson brothers, Fitzpatrick brothers, Jimmy Kelly, Jim McArdle, Tom McBride, Jack Reilly, John McGerty, Frank Gillian, B. Leddy, Vincent Smith and Pa Smith. In the years that followed both Mick Browne and Jim McArdle made the county team.
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That Tullyvin team boasted players like Hughie Reilly, T.J. Wymes and Tom Reilly. It is worthy of a note that Hughie Reilly later captained the Cavan senior team that beat Kildare in the 1935 All Ireland.
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Another feature of the ‘Bridge was that families were divided in the early days. John Brogan played for Butlersbridge and his brother Phil played for Annagh in the 30’s. Eugene Leddy played for the ‘Bridge but played for Ashgrove in the 40’s. Mick Browne had the distinction of playing for the ‘Bridge with his six sons – Tommy, Mikey, Sean, Patsy, Brian and Ken. Later on Tommy and Mikey played for Cavan Harps and the other brothers played for the ‘Bridge. What a clash of brothers when the two teams met!!
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That star-studded Cootehill team had three sets of famous brothers – the Gallaghers, Keyes and Coyles – all with county experience.
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That great ‘Bridge Minor team included players like Ken Browne, Patsy Meehan, Con Smith, Brian Myles, Aiden Foynes, Terry Smyth, Val Kyne, Brendan Farrell, Mickey McGerty, Joe Mayes and Paddy Reilly.
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The 1963 winning Championship team were trained by Longford man Fintan Tierney. They beat a very strong Mountnugent team in the semi – final and saw off their old rivals Killinkere in the final. The Junior cup was in Butlersbridge for the first time. Aidan Foynes missed the final because he was a newly ordained priest in Florida. On visits home many years later he often recalled the telegram that he got from Kevin Smith on that victorious evening – ‘Cup in the ‘Bridge – Pandemonium’.
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The 1974 winning Championship team was trained by the legendary Sean O’Hare from Hackelty. A colourful character by nature Sean reckoned that this team fitted their positions like a hand in a silk glove. There was nothing silky about the team, however, because they had to battle hard against a dogged Mulahoran team, before coming out on top on a scoreline of 2-4 to 0-4. The team captain Tommy Smyth followed in the footsteps of his brother Terry (team captain in 1963) and became the second ‘Bridge captain to bring the Junior Championship trophy to the village. Later that year Tommy led the same group of players to a League final win over Kill, thus completing a League and Championship double.
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History of Paírc Emmett
When Butlersbridge Emmett’s celebrated their Centenary in 1988 it was fitting that their new football pitch Paírc Emmett, was just ready to host the clubs Centenary game – a past versus present selection. For over one hundred years the club had tried and failed to secure a permanent, suitable site for the playing of our national games. However, this was to change in the mid 1980’s.
In February 1986 a meeting of the committee of the Development Association (Vincent Bartley Jnr, Hugh Leddy, Mary Tierney) and the officers of Butlersbridge G.F.C. (Ambrose Shannon R.I.P, Brian McEntee and Terry Leddy) took place. At that meeting it was pointed out that the then Dev. Assoc. field could be purchased by the football club if the adjoining field owned by Johnny Smith (Ballyhaise), could be purchased also. Both committees agreed to pursue the possibility. In time Smith’s field was bought for £12,000 and the Dev. Field for £8,000. The purchase money was raised through a house to house collection in the area and through donations from “’Bridge” people who were then living outside the area, allied to finance already in the club, raised over a period of years by a very hard working finance committee.
In March, 1987, the job of excavating, draining and levelling the proposed new pitch was given to Mr. Sean Smith of P & S Constructions at a cost of £26,000. Work commenced in May and excavation and drainage were completed by September. In April 1988 the grass seed was sown and by August the pitch was ready for the clubs Centenary game. The finance for this part of the project was raised through two very successful car draws in 1987 and 1988.
Close to the pitch site was an old disused Co. Council boiler house. This was made available to the club at a nominal fee and over the next couple of years old tanks and pipework were removed. The building was re-roofed and adequate dressing rooms were provided. In the following years perimeter fencing, dug-outs, and a stand were erected.
Paírc Emmett was officially opened in May 1993 by the then G.A.A. President Mr. Peter Quinn. Longford and Cavan played at the official opening. A plaque inside the ground reminds us of two great ‘Bridge men who passed to their eternal reward before the official opening. One was Con Smith, who played for Butlersbridge and Cavan with distinction. The other was Ambrose Shannon who worked tirelessly for the new park. No doubt both men would be very proud of the clubs achievements in the intervening years.
It is worth nothing that at no stage during purchase or development did the club ever borrow a penny from the bank. Funds were always raised in advance of work being done. The fund raising committee at that time (1987 – 1990) was Brian McEntee, Paul Hickey, Gerry McGerty, Paddy McGovern, Ambrose Shannon R.I.P., Terry Leddy, Sean O’Reilly, Sean McGovern, Jimmy McGerty, Martin Duffy, John Emmo, Paddy Leddy and Michael Reynolds. The field committee, who worked so hard for so many years was comprised of Packie Connolly, Noel McGovern R.I.P. and Patsy McEntee R.I.P.
As the years moved on the club was growing in numbers. The local population was increasing rapidly and more demands were being made on the pitch. With Junior League and Championship success coming in 2002 and more players playing Gaelic football at all levels, it became apparent that the time was coming to upgrade the dressing room and the playing facilities. Plans for new dressing rooms, meeting rooms, toilets, gym and so on were drawn up.
An application was made to the Sports Capital Grant in 2007 for funding for the provision of new clubrooms which would consist of the following on a split level site: 1st floor : 4 large dressing rooms with shower rooms, toilets (both ladies and gents), a referee’s room with shower facility, meeting room/function room, tea room. Basement: gym, storage room, boiler room, and a large room for pitch maintenance equipment or indoor training. At the entrance gate we have public toilets both male and female and turnstile. All facilities comply with wheelchair regulations.
Architect employed was Michael Fitzpatrick.
Tenders were sought and M & C Bannon Construction from Ballyconnell was selected as the builder as a result of the tenders. Contract price was €358,000 plus vat. The total price was €442,000 which included some extras.
Sports Capital funding of €100,000 was granted with €20,000 coming from Clar and the remainder was made up with our own funds and major fundraising events.
To raise the local contribution Club 300 was formed which was run over a five year period with tickets €1,000 each, this proved very successful, and resulted in us not having to avail of any overdraft facilities.
Our new Clubrooms were opened in 2008 by President of the GAA Nicky Brennan in the presence of Geraldine Giles, Ladies Football President and Aogan O’Fearghail, from the Ulster Council.
We made an application in 2008 to the Sports Capital Programme for grant aid towards the upgrading of the pitch but were unsuccessful on that occasion.
We applied again to the Sports Capital Programme in 2012 for a grant towards upgrading of the pitch and training area and provision of a running track round the pitch, lighting and fencing. We were granted €80,000. Tenders were sought and Michael Hyland of Hyland Turfcare was selected to undertake the work at a cost of €175,000.
Michael Fitzpatrick was again the architect.
Local funding was required to make up the shortfall and Club 125 was launched over a period of three years with tickets at €720 or standing order of €20 per month for three years which again proved very successful.
Work is well under way with the new pitch and practice pitch fully laid. Work is ready to commence on the running track and fencing around the field. Flood lighting is also being put in place and it is hoped that the official opening of the new pitch will take place in summer 2015. This will greatly benefit all the young football talent that is being nurtured in Butlersbridge at present.
Great credit is due to the hard working officers and committee who pressed ahead with these projects. Former club Chairman Michael Mulvey did Trojan work in securing Sports Capital Funding on two occasions. He was ably assisted by former Chairman Ronan Flanagan and current Chairman Paul Henry, Vice-Chairmen Harry Conaty and Pauric McGearty; Treasurers Helen Flynn and Michael Reynolds; Secretaries Louise Leddy and Maureen Cosgrove; Assistant Secretary Eileen O’Reilly. The present field committee of Jim McCorry, Michael Mulvey, Ronan Flanagan, Paul Henry and Michael Reynolds are overseeing the present pitch development and deserve great credit for their work todate. As we move towards 2015 we continue to hold to our Club 125 motto “Is feidir linn”.
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The Final of 2002
The Junior Championship final of 2002 will long be remembered and talked about by the Gaels of Butlersbridge. That Butlersbridge should reach the final of 2002, never mind win it, was indeed remarkable. Remarkable, because at the beginning of the season the club lost the services of five prominent players – Darragh Keogh (gone to Australia), Michael Fitzpatrick, Fergal Boylan and Noel McPhillips (U.S.A), and Gerard Boylan (taking a break from the game). This was not the news that team manager Pheilim Plunkett needed as he took charge of this team for the fifth year. Pheilim could have walked away but ‘throwing in the towel’ is not part of this man’s make up.
After a poor League performance the Championship began for Butlersbridge in July with an opening group game against Crosserlough. One very important thing had happened in the intervening months. Club Chairman, Paul Henry, had convinced Michael Fitzpatrick that he should return for the Championship. In the game against Crosserlough ‘Micky’ proved his worth scoring four points. Next up was Cavan Gaels and again ‘Micky’ was the marksman scoring five points, to record a one point win. Next followed a good victory over Killeshandra at a Killygarry venue. At this stage Butlersbridge were sure to top their group. In the final group match Butlersbridge slipped up to Munterconnacht but were none the less in the quarter final. The quarter final draws were made and the ‘Bridge were drawn against Munterconnacht and were very lucky to get a draw with a last minute point from Paul Murphy. In the replay the ‘Bridge won comfortably. On to the semi-final and a very convincing win over Templeport in early September. All seemed to be set for a repeat of the 1974 final between Butlersbridge and Mullahoran. However Kildallan objected to the constitution of the Mullahoran team and after a lengthy process Killdallan were declared as final opponents for Butlersbridge and November 17th 2002 was the date fixed in Kingspan Breiffni Park for the final to be held.
The flags and buntings were now up for over six weeks but at last the scene was set. The day started in the best possible way – dry, calm and no strong sun. The team, officials, club committee and some supporters attended a special mass in the Hotel Kilmore celebrated by Rev. Fr. Paul Casey C.C. The mood among the players was excellent – calm, relaxed and confident.
The game started at 2:30pm in Kingspan Breiffni Park. The Anglo-Celt report covers the match details. At the sound of the final whistle the ‘Bridge were Junior Champions for only the third time in the clubs history (the previous wins coming in 1963 and 1974). A twenty-eight year gap had been bridged on a scored line of 1-6 to 0-6. The disappointment of 1999, losing to Drumlane, had been wiped away. Joint captains Diarmuid Smith and Paul McCorry proudly hoisted the Sean Leddy Cup presented by County Board Chairman George Cartwright. Right half back on the ‘Bridge team, Paul Murphy, was presented with the ‘Man of the Match’ award by Ciaran McKenna from the Cavan Crystal, sponsors of the Championship. The scenes of sheer joy and excitement and relief in the ‘Bridge dressing room had to be seen to be believed.
At approximately 4:30pm the triumphant cavalcade set off for Butlersbridge with the Sean Leddy Memorial Cup returning home to a rapturous reception from young and old. An evening of joyful celebrations began culminating with a club dinner in the Derragarra Inn at 7 pm. Many tributes were paid to the dedication of the players, the selectors, the club officials, supporters, under-age committee and so on, but everyone agreed that the success of this team was down to one man who has worked tirelessly over five years and brought on so many young and, not so young, players. A man who has proved himself a complete gentleman with everyone in Butlersbridge. A man who never lost faith while others doubted. For Pheilim and his players November 17th 2002 was the icing on the cake.
On Wednesday, November 20th 2002 the Sean Leddy Cup was brought to Butlersbridge Central N.S. where the ninety-six children and four teachers and learning – support teacher gave the visitors a tremendous reception. Well known Cornafean piper, Sean Kelly, led club captain Paul McCorry and chairman Paul Henry through the school doors carrying the cup. This proved to be both an exciting and emotional occasion. School principle Terry Leddy paid tribute to the team, team manager and everyone who had contributed to this historic occasion. Further contributions came from Paul McCorry, Paul Henry, Pheilim Plunkett, Fr. Paul Casey, John Emmo, Oliver Henry and the school children. Pat Lee was present with his video camera. While having a cup of tea the players and officials posed for photographs with the children, who responded with ‘We’ve got the best team in the land’ and a poem specially written for the occasion called ‘Final Showdown’.
Present in the school on this very special occasion were the ninety-six children, teachers Terry Leddy, Evelyn Brady, Geraldine Donohoe, Carmel Beggan, Geraldine Donohoe, Fr. Paul Casey, Sean Kelly (piper), Pat Lee (video), Paul Henry, Deirdre Henry, Eileen McGearty, Mary Shannon, Jim McCorry, Sean Browne, Stan Cameron, Martin Ellis, Hugh Leddy, Oliver Henry, Pheilim Plunkett.
Players – Paul McCorry (captain), Michael Fitzpatrick, Ronan Flanagan, Patrick McGovern, John Emmo, Sean Henry, Gerry McPhillips, Mark Shannon, John Shannon.
Ulster Club Championship
Butlersbridge, as Cavan Junior Champions, qualified to play in the Ulster Club Championship, a competition hosted by the Cremartin Club in county Monaghan.
On Sunday December 2002 Butlersbridge took on Crossmaglen Rangers in Cremartin’s Pitch. The match was played on a very heavy pitch and in a gale force wind. The ‘Bridge had to lineout without their goalkeeper Niall McCorry, who was replaced by Bernard Reynolds. Playing with the wind at their backs in the first half, the ‘Bridge attacked relentlessly but some very poor shooting cost them dearly. At half time the sides were level. In the second half Crossmaglen opened with a rather lucky goal. However, the ‘Bridge fought like tigers but could never get on top of a very physical Crossmaglen team who had five players booked and one sent off in that second half. Greater experience won the day for Crossmaglen but Butlersbridge had acquitted themselves well in their first ‘Ulster’ outing. Final score Crossmaglen 3-5, Butlersbridge 0-8.
Reserve League Final
Within weeks of Butlersbridge historic Championship win came news that, following a re-checking of the points table, Butlersbridge’s second team had qualified for the League Final, where they would play Castlerahan. So on Saturday, December 14th, 2002 the two teams met in Crowe Park in Lacken. The ‘Bridge line out was as follows:
John Emmo Mark Shannon Stephen O’Hara
Lorcan Mulvey Pauric McGearty Andrew McConnell
David McEntee Matthew Boylan
John Shannon Karlos Conlon Paddy McGovern
Sean Henry Killian Shannon Gary McEntee (cpt.)
Subs used : Gerry McPhillips for Garry McEntee.
In many ways this was the best performance by a ‘Bridge team in 2002 as they totally dominated the game from start to finish and should have won by a lot more. The team played with great determination and skill and supported each other right throughout the field. The final score of 3-6 to 2-3 did not adequately reflect how dominant the ‘Bridge were. There were scenes of jubilation on the pitch when Gary McEntee hoisted the Cathal Brady Cup. Another cup was on its way to the ‘Bridge where it received a rapturous welcome.
The Final of 2004
The ‘Bridge were back in the Junior Championship final again in 2004. This time the opposition was provided by near neighbours Redhills. The match was played on the 19th of September in Kingspan Breiffni Park. Club chairman Gerry McPhillips and team captain Pauric McGearty were confident that the ‘Bridge could re-capture the Sean Leddy Cup. A new team manager was in charge – Mickey Graham the former Cavan Gaels and Cavan county player. Mickey had instilled great belief into the team and they played an exciting brand of football. After a see-saw battle with Redhills the game ended in a draw. Two weeks later both teams headed for Ballyconnell for the replay. Doctor Gerry McDermott had done a great job in getting many of the ‘Bridge injured players back in action. This was a much more dominant performance from the ‘Bridge and they ran out easy winners on a scoreline of 0-14 to 1-06.
The Final of 2009
In the space of seven years Butlersbridge were back in their third Junior Championship final. Phelim Plunkett was again back at the helm as team manager and his selectors Ollie Henry, Paddy McGovern and Michael Cryan had worked very hard with this team to try to get a third Championship in the same decade. Club chairman Michael Mulvey and club captain Michael Fitzpatrick were confident that this team could deliver. Final day was the 27th of September in Kingspan Breiffni Park, and this time the opposition was Swanlinbar – a big strong physical team allied to a lot of skill. The first fifteen minutes were evenly contested but goals from Sennin Flanagan and Martin Fitzpatrick gave the ‘Bridge the edge at half time. This gave the team the confidence to play some brilliant football in the second half and Swanlinbar had no answer to the wave of ‘Bridge attacks. The Sean Leddy Cup was on its way to the ‘Bridge for a record third time in seven years. No doubt Sean was smiling from on high.