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Tuam Stars (Irish: Réalta Thuama) is a Gaelic Athletic Association club based in the Tuam area in County Galway, Ireland. The club is a member of the Galway GAA. Underage teams up to U-16's play in the Galway league and championships while Minor, Junior, and Senior compete in their respective competitions in the North Board section.

Tuam Stars
Réalta Thuama
Grounds:Tuam Stadium & Tuam Stars Grounds
Coordinates:53°30′32.32″N 8°50′13.38″W / 53.5089778°N 8.8370500°W / 53.5089778; -8.8370500Coordinates: 53°30′32.32″N 8°50′13.38″W / 53.5089778°N 8.8370500°W / 53.5089778; -8.8370500
Playing kits
Standard colours
Senior Club Championships
All Ireland Connacht

Football: - 1 25

Tuam Stars are a Gaelic football club and are one of the most successful clubs in Galway Football's history.




In December 1887 the foundations for Tuam's first football club were formed. It was agreed they would play under "association rules" but GAA clubs were springing up everywhere, buoyed by the Nationalist revival sweeping the country. Messrs. W. and J. Silke, P Byrne and Patk. Kelly were the main driving force behind the formation of the towns first G.A.A. club.

Tuam's sportsman came under pressure to conform but the Tuam Herald, the local newspaper, was opposed to the new Gaelic version of the game. An excerpt from the opposition of a writer of the newspaper read "There can be no doubt that the hit-or-miss, smashing, dashing, rough and tumble game played under the name Gaelic is not football". The writer recommended that there should have been a campaign by newspapers to insist on a proper code of rules.

However such opposition did not stop the club and in February 1889, Tuam Stars was born, ignoring the trend for naming clubs after political heroes of the day. They played their first game on St. Patrick's Day of that year.

Early historyEdit

Although Tuam Stars were formed in 1888 there was no county championship. Instead they travelled to play all the outlying teams, Ballyhaunis, Ballaghaderreen, Dunmore (Tuam's great rivals, formed in 1887) and even to as far off as Tipperary to play Waterford. That long journey resulted in Tuam Stars becoming the first Connacht team to play on a Munster ground, and they went on to beat Waterford by 3 points to nil.

By the mid-1890s, they had emerged as the strongest club in Galway. Several titles were won by Tuam Stars in the early days of their history and a number of other Clubs reigned in the Town in those days - Tuam Krugers being the most noteworthy.

Tuam contributed several players to the County team from their early days to the mid-20th century, most notably Jimmy O'Rourke, Martin Mannion, Tom Sloyan, Mick Stewart, Bill Birrell & Paddy Walsh.

Postwar yearsEdit

The postwar years of 1921 onwards were a largely unsuccessful time for Tuam Stars at senior level. The 1930s saw very little success for the Stars and it was not until 1942 that the Senior Championship title returned to Tuam with the team captained by W. Birrell. They won the title again in 1944 and 1947.

Just as the Senior success was beginning to return, the Minor success of 1945 was notable for the presence of two young players - Seán Purcell and Frank Stockwell. The two who would become to be known as the "Terrible Twins", were to become a major influence on the fortunes of Tuam Stars and the history of the GAA in the future.

Dominant forceEdit

From the barren spells of the 1930s and 1940s, Tuam Stars swept all before them in a golden era. The 1950s were possibly the greatest and most successful in the history of Tuam Stars. Having won the Minor title in 1950 and 1951, the Seniors hit the top in 1952, winning the County Championship for the 13th time. After losing in 1953, the Stars returned to win the Championship again. It would be the start to a record Seven county titles in a row.

This record sequence was the perfect evidence that the Terrible Twins were wreaking havoc amongst the ranks of Galway football. Purcell & Stockwell along with other Tuam players Jack Mangan, Seamus Colleran and Cyril Kelly would go on to win the 1956 All Ireland Football Championship for Galway, defeating Cork 2-13 to 3-7.

The Chairman of the Club during the 1940s, Joe Mooney, was instrumental along with Jim Nohilly, local Adm. Fr. Killeen and local traders in setting up the Development of Tuam Stadium, which was opened in 1957. Up to that point, Tuam Stars headquarters were at Parkmore on the Dublin Road, which the Club now uses as a training ground and plays some of its games.

1960s and 1970sEdit

Tuam's record winning streak came to an end in 1961. The next year, they came back to win the Championship against reigning champions Dunmore McHales. It would be their last county title until 1984. As Senior Honours dried up, Juvenile/Minor Victories in 1970, 1971, 1973, 1978 and 1979 and Under-21 triumphs in 1972 and 1975 maintained the flow of silverware heading to Tuam.

In 1971 Tuam had the honour of two Stars being selected on the first "All Star" team - Goalie P.J. Smyth & Right Full Back Johnny Carey of Mayo & Connacht fame. P.J.'s brother, Declan was to Star for Club & County in later years & and had a spell as Louth Team Manager.

The 1980sEdit

While great efforts were made in the 1970s by men like Pakie Walsh, Michael O'Neill, Brendan Doherty, Fr. Concannon, Neil O'Dea and the late Martin Dunleavy, Senior Honours escaped Tuam. 1984 was the breakthrough year and the 22 year famine was over. Tuam beat a fancied Dunmore McHales side in the final, and the excitement in Tuam Stadium was overwhelming as the Cup was raised. The young stock of the 1970s had come through to join up with Joe Kelly, Oxy Moran, Declan Dunne & the evergreen Pat O'Neill, a member of Galway's 1983 All-Ireland final team who lost to Dublin. While the "terrible twins" had been on the 1962 team, their sons were now on the 1984 winning team - John Purcell and Francis Stockwell. The team was captained by John Tobin and included Lt. Aengus Murphy who was killed in 1986 in the Lebanon while serving with the United Nations peace keeping force.

Supported by the Juveniles of the 1970s, the Stars went on to be well represented on Galway County Teams during the 1980s and went on to capture two further Senior titles in 1988 and 1989

1990s - The glory of 94Edit

The Connacht Title eluded all of the senior winning Teams since the competition's inception. In 1994, a determination crept into the Stars. The panel was boosted the return of Paud O'Dea & Cathal McGinn, who was the captain, from America coupled with the unexpected resumption of football by Jimmy O'Dea after injury. Linking up with their Under 21 mates, who were crowned county champions the same year, and blending in with the new bunch made the squad determined not to settle for just a County title this time around.

They won the County title in style, defeating Corofin. After coming through the Connacht semi-final, they travelled to Aughawillan and beat the Leitrim Champions in their own back yard, coming from 5 points behind at half time. With the Connacht title secured, the Stars set their sights on going all the way. However, Derry & Ulster champions, Bellaghy put paid to Tuam's hopes in the All-Ireland Semi Final.

The success of that year saw the rise of Ja Fallon whose displays in All-Ireland Senior Football Championship 1998, especially in the second half of the All-Ireland final, should rank him as one of the greatest footballers ever to come out of Galway. Despite the success of that memorable year in 1994, Tuam have not secured another County title since with the closest being the 1995 final defeat to Corofin.

2000 and onwardsEdit

The year 2000 saw the Under 16 juvenile team capture the county double, League and Championship. The team was undefeated in over 3 years, and the club was awarded the Juvenile Club of the Year 2000 with the chairman getting the Pa Burke award for the man who did most for football in Co. Galway.

The day before the 2001 All-Ireland Final in which Fallon and Galway triumphed, All Ireland success came to Tuam Stars when they captured the Kilmacud All-Ireland Seven A Side competition for the first time. Kevin Reidy managed the team to a great victory while current senior captain Tony Costello captained the team. They played seven games in all, winning every one in style, defeating Castleblayney Faughs in the Final in a thrilling game. Goalkeeper Michael Ryan was also honoured as the player of the tournament. These triumphs were firsts for Tuam in the new era.

The new facilities on Dublin Road were completed in 2006 and are one of the best in the Country. In October 2007, they were featured on the program Grassroots Of The GAA on TV3. It focused mainly on what happens behind the scenes at the Club. In 2007, the U-16 juvenile team secured the only silverware for the club that year. They won the Division 1 A Shield final against St. James' on home ground on 23 November 2007 by a scoreline of 1-08 to 0-10.

In 2008, the U-21 team won the North Board Championship and then went on to win the County Championship.

2011 & 2012: Back-to-back county finalsEdit

Despite great strides made off the pitch and on the pitch at underage level, the club had not reached a county final since their defeat to Corofin in 1995. However, in 2011, the club embarked on a return to the pinnacle of Galway senior club football and their search for their 26th county title.


The 2011 Galway Senior Football Championship was memorable for the length of time it took to finish. Dubbed in the local newspapers, the "Year of The Replay" a player eligibility row between St. Michaels and Mountbellew Moylough, which was followed a freakish series of draws meant the final was pushed back until the end of October. In the middle of all this, Alan Flynn, part of the backroom team that saw Galway win the All-Ireland Under 21 title, and his squad quietly went about their business and reached their first county final since 1995.

Starting off with a comfortable win against Kilkerrin-Clonberne, the two sides met again in the last 16. Only a late goal pushed Tuam ahead in the closing stages and sealed their place in the quarter finals. However, a player eligibility row stemming from the first round match between St. Michaels and Mountbellew-Moylough took several weeks to resolve. Eventually a compromise was found between the two sides, and Mountbellew triumphed in the re-arranged fixture. They then saw off Cortoon Shamrocks, after extra time in the replay.

The first meeting between Mountbellew and Tuam finished level, 0-10 to 2-04. Still showing signs of rustiness, the Stars found themselves trailing by 7 points at half-time in the replay at Tuam Stadium. However, a stunning comeback was on the cards after three early second half points. John Lawless scored a crucial goal going into injury time that saw them trail by one point, until points from Jamie Murphy and Gary O'Donnell saw them edge out their opponents and reach the semi-final by a scoreline of 1-07 to 1-06.

Unbelievably, there was another draw in the semi-final against Salthill-Knocknacarra at Pearse Stadium. It proved to be a low scoring affair, 1-05 to 0-08 the final score. Many felt Tuam had left it behind them late on and were unlucky to draw, inter-county star Sean Armstrong equalising for Salthill in injury time. The replay took place a week later in Tuam Stadium, and the home side raced out of the blocks, Declan Beirne scoring an early goal. It was stated they were getting better with each game and they were on top in all areas of the field. However, Salthill kept in touch throughout. Tempers flared in the second half and when Salthill were reduced to 14 men, many felt there was only one winner. However, poor shooting late on kept Salthill in it going into injury time. However, the Stars held on to win by 2 points and reach their first county final in 16 years.

In the final, they faced their close neighbours and fierce rivals, Corofin. Tuam's absence from Galway club footballs showpiece event coincided with Corofin's dominance in the county. The two sides had last met in the 1995 final, where a last minute penalty save denied Tuam a replay. Since then, Corofin had won 7 county titles. The final was switched from Pearse Stadium to Tuam Stadium, a move that was welcomed by many within Galway football and the patrons of the town.

Despite great excitement and anticipation in the town, the final ended in disappointment for the Stars. Playing with the wind in the first half, Corofin built up a 9-point advantage at half-time. Tuam fought valiantly in the second half, and the turning point came where after they scored a much needed goal, they were awarded a penalty that could have reduced the deficit to 2 points. However, Shane Gaffney was denied by Corofin goalkeeper David Morris. The final score was Corofin 0-16, Tuam Stars 1-06.


The appointment of Alan Mulholland as Galway Senior Football team manager meant Flynn left his role with Tuam to join Mulholland's backroom team. Replacing him were Jimmy O'Dea and Kevin Reidy in a joint capacity. The opening round of the 2012 championship paired Tuam and Corofin together in a repeat of the 2011 final. The outcome was almost identical as Corofin once again earned another victory over their rivals on a 0-14 to 1-06 scoreline. The result meant the Stars would have to enter the backdoor qualifier round. They easily saw off the challenge of Killanin, winning 6-11 to 0-08. The 2nd round drew Tuam with Mountbellew/Moylough, who the Stars narrowly bet after a replay in last years championship. In another close affair, the Stars came through to win by 0-15 to 0-12.

The quarter-final stage saw Tuam face off against another close neighbour in the form of Milltown. Despite terrible conditions, the Stars excelled against their opponents and despite the concession of a late penalty, they came through to win by 3 points, 0-14 to 1-08. It ensured the club's first back-to-back semi-final appearances since 1994-95. However, in the semi-final they would have to face Corofin. This was to be the club's fifth meeting in the last 6 years, with Corofin winning all 4 of the previous encounters. However many felt the tide was slowly turning in Tuams favour, with the Stars having won their league encounter earlier in the year.

The first of a double header which included the other semi-final, Tuam started much brighter and despite playing against the wind in the first half, they enjoyed a 0-03 to no score lead after 20 minutes. Conor Doherty doubled that advantage with well worked move. However, Corofin responded with the final 3 points of the half to leave the score at 1-03 to 0-03. The Stars got the perfect start to the second half when Paul Doherty, older brother of Conor, fisted a superb 2nd goal to give Tuam a six-point advantage. Despite Corofin closing the gap and being reduced to 14 men with the sending off of Donal Marley, Tuam held on for their first championship victory over Corofin in years but more importantly their return to the County final, where they will face Salthill-Knocknacarra on October 14 in Pearse Stadium.


  • Galway Senior Football Championships: 25
    • 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1942, 1943, 1947, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1994
  • Connacht Senior Club Football Championship: 1
    • 1994
  • Galway Senior Football Leagues: 14
    • 1952, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1964, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980
  • Galway Minor Football Club Championships: 11
    • 1945,1950,1957, 1970,1971, 1972,1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983
  • Galway Under-21 County Championship: 7
    • 1972, 1975, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1994, 2003, 2008
  • Galway Junior Football Championships: 15
    • 1907, 1911,1915, 1916, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1984, 2004
  • North Board Junior Championship Finals: 8
    • 1915, 1916, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1984,2000, 2004
  • Kilmacud All-Ireland 7 a Side: 1
    • 2001

Famous players – past and presentEdit

  • Seán Purcell - All-Ireland Medal Winner with Galway in 1956 and member of the GAA Team of the Century and GAA and Galway Teams of the Millennium
  • Frank Stockwell - All-Ireland Medal Winner with Galway in 1956 and member of the Galway Team of the Millennium
  • Jack Mangan - Captain of the Galway All-Ireland Winning team of 1956
  • Cyril Kelly - All-Ireland Medal Winner with Galway in 1956 and current Vice-President of the club
  • Séamus Colleran - All-Ireland Medal Winner with Galway in 1956
  • Mick Garrett - All-Ireland Medal Winner with Galway in 1964 and 1965
  • P. J. Smyth - 1971 All-Star winner
  • Johnny Carey - 1971 All-Star winner
  • Pat O'Neill - All-Ireland runner-up with Galway in 1983
  • Jarlath Fallon - All-Ireland Medal Winner with Galway in 1998 and 2001 and footballer of the year in 1998.
  • Paul Doherty - Former Inter-County Goalkeeper for Galway
  • Conor Doherty - Minor All Ireland winner 2007, U-21 All Ireland winner 2011, current member of Galway Senior Football panel
  • Gary O'Donnell - Current member of Galway senior football panel

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit