Club History


Saint Martins was founded in 1982 when Muckalee/Ballyfoyle Rangers and Coon were amalgamated. The Club colours adopted were red with a green sash which was a combination of both the Muckalee/Ballyfoyle Rangers and Coon jerseys. Hurling, however, was well established in the parish long before this.

Coon GAA Club was formed in 1948. A major influence in this was the arrival of Phil Dunne to teach in the Technical School in the early forties and his organization of a minor team in the area. In 1947 Fr. Michael Brennan was appointed as curate in Coon. A native of Mooncoin, Fr. Brennan was a hurling fanatic, and, with great help from locals, a Club was entered in the Junior Championship in 1948. They sported a green jersey. Coon contested Junior Championship finals in 1961 and 1962, but were defeated by Mooncoin and Thomastown respectively. The big breakthrough came in 1967 when Coon defeated Knocktopher in the final. As a result, Coon then entered the Senior championship where they played till 1972. (The county Intermediate championship was suspended between 1933 and 1972.)

On the re-introduction of the Intermediate championship in 1973, Coon opted to play in this grade which they did with immediate success, winning the 1973 final when they beat Graignamanagh. They returned to the Junior grade later in the decade.

Muckalee/Ballyfoyle Rangers were formed in 1971. They sported a red jersey. Success came quickly with victory in the 1974 county Junior final, followed by the winning of the Intermediate title in 1975. In their second year at senior they contested the senior semi-final going to a second replay. In 1980 they contested the Senior Final losing to Ballyhale after a replay. The following year defeat came at the semi-final stage versus James Stephens.

The amalgamation of the two clubs then followed and within two years, St Martin’s had reached the summit of achievement for any club.

In 1984, Centenary year of the GAA, Saint Martins were county champions after defeating Shamrocks of Ballyhale in the final. After a great Leinster campaign, Kinnity were defeated in the final at Athy. The Ulster and Antrim champions Ballycastle McQuillans were accounted for in the All-Ireland semi-final after a good game in Callan. This set up a showdown in Croke Park with Castlegar, the Galway and Connacht Champions bidding for a second win in the competition. The game was drawn but the Saints were not to be denied, winning the replay by three points in Semple Stadium Thurles. The appointment of Tom Neville, a former All-Ireland winner with Wexford, and our own Billy Brett was crucial in these wins. The junior A Championship was also won in a very special year for our Club. Semi-final defeats in 1985 and 1987 against Glenmore and Ballyhale Shamrocks respectively meant it was 1991 before Saint Martins again reached the county final. This time it was Shamrocks who prevailed.

The Club suffered the setback of relegation to Intermediate in 1999. It took two attempts to regain our Senior status. In 2000 we were defeated by Dunnamaggin but in 2002 senior status was restored with victory over Carrickshock.

Saint Martins decided to set up a Bord Na nÓg section in the mid nineties in an effort to raise the standard of underage hurling and football in the parish. Our under-age record since is equal to any in the county – the winning of Schools “A” in 2002 and Minor “A” in 2005 being the highlights.

In 2007 Saint Martins again reached the senior final. Once again, it was Ballyhale Shamrocks who were our opponents. Alas, defeat was scant reward for our new trainer Christy Walsh of Kerry, in his first year in charge. A great end to the year was the victory of our Under 21’s who defeated Ballyhale Shamrocks to win our first “A” title.

Paul Kinsella was elected County Board chairman for 2008 which was a great honour for our Club. Paul enjoyed a record-breaking first year in charge as Kilkenny swept the board with an unprecedented four All-Ireland titles. The All-Ireland winning teams were helped by a major input from our own players which included two All-Ireland winning captains in James Dowling and Thomas Breen.

There have been many other notable victories and achievements on hurling fields which will be covered elsewhere on the site.