The GAA came to Annaduff in 1899, as it did throughout Leitrim. Two clubs came into existence, Annaduff Parnellites in the centre of the parish and Drumsna Connaught Rangers, centred around the village. The Parnellites changed their name after the Parnellite split and became the Young Allen’s, in honour of the youngest of the three Manchester Martyrs. Neither club had any great success in those early days.
The history of Gaelic Football in Annaduff was something of a hit and miss affair for first part of the twentieth century with the Club going in and out of existence several times, due to emigration and falling player numbers.
However, there were several highlights during those years, principally the winning of the Leitrim Senior Championship in 1928. That team had several stars, including John “Nipper” Shanley, and Peter Masterson, who were both on the Leitrim team which won the Connacht Championship for the first time in 1927.
The next high point came with the reformation of the Club in 1938. A mini golden age ensued, with two Junior crowns in 1938 and again in 1941. At this stage Club teams were playing in red and white. Players such as Paddy Butsy Faughnan, Tom Kiernan, Walter Notley, George O’Toole and Gerry McManus were the mainstays of the Club.
In common with so many other clubs in rural Ireland, emigration again caused the club to go out of existence. It was not until 1958 that Annaduff again took its place on the playing fields of Leitrim. Wearing the now famed maroon and gold jerseys for the first time and inspired by the late great, Fr Sean Manning, Annaduff Juniors contested both League and Championship finals that year. But it was at underage that Annaduff really made it mark, winning the Under-14 crown in 1964, with a team captained by Eugene Cox. The first team won the Junior title, defeating Drumkeerin in the final. Annaduff were back in Senior football and went on the contest the Senior Final in 1966, only to lose to a star-studded Aughavas side.
Annaduff returned to the Junior ranks in 1970 and won the Junior Championship again in 1972, with a team containing players such as Tony Gannon, Jim McGarry, Josie McManus, Jimmy O’Connor and young up and coming stars like Terry McGuinness and Tim Shanley.
But it was the Minors on 1971 which were the toast of the Club winning the County title in 1971. Little was expected from this team, but lead by Gerry McGarry, Terry McGuinness, Padraig Lynch and Tim and Frank Shanley, they defeated a strong Dromahaire side in the final. That year was also marked by the victory on Eamonn Shanley’s under-14’s who also took county honours. Two years later, that same team, with stars like Micheal and Lar Lynch, Ken McManus, Maurice Shanley and Gerard Moran, captured the Under-16 crown.
Annaduff then entered a valley period, during which no success came our way. However, it was marked by the fact that the Club made the courageous decision to purchase the park. The new ground, was opened in 1983 and nameed after Stanley Cox who had done so much to ensure that Annaduff had a worthy home.
The players responded with winning the Junior crown. Captained by Ken McManus, the team defeated Aughnasheelin in the County Final. We were Junior Champions again in 1986, with a team captained by Gerry Flanagan.
Annaduff entered the current golden era, winning the Intermediate Championship and League in 2001. James Faughnan was the captain of this team, and three years later Annaduff entered the Promised Land winning the Senior Championship for the first time since 1928. Under the captaincy of Kevin Ludlow, Annaduff also took the Senior League crown, the Junior Championship and the Division Four League – the most successful year in the Club’s history. The decade also Annaduff took several underage titles and many wins at second and third team level. The Club has never been stronger than it is today; hopefully this proud history can inspire future generations to even greater deeds.