Tullamore Town earn FAI Club Mark
It has long been held that the club came into existence in 1941 when a meeting was called to officially form the Tullamore Association Football Club but recent research by Belfast based historian Martin Moore has established that soccer was being played in Tullamore as early as 1877. “The traditional understanding is that association football was introduced to Belfast in 1878 and from there the game eventually spread around the rest of the country,” writes Moore.
However, he goes on to say that records show that Tullamore was constituted as a formal dual code football club, alternating between soccer and rugby, at a meeting held on September 22nd 1879. As the press report did not describe the meeting as an inaugural one he concludes that it was possible that the club had been in existence for some time and, as such, would have been the first soccer club on the island of Ireland.
Over the years Tullamore Town FC has moved grounds and changed its club colours. However, now the blue & white kit emblazoned with the iconic crest of the phoenix rising from the flames is synonymous with the club and they are extremely proud to call Leah Victoria Park at Ballyduff their home! In Leah Victoria Park, the club boasts a fantastic facility where they cater for over 400 adult and underage members. The club’s facilities include two full size grass pitches, one of which is floodlit, a smaller grass pitch which is used by their underage teams, a floodlit astro pitch which offers the opportunity for members to train all year-round and a modern clubhouse with dressing rooms.
From its modest beginnings in the Sunday Alliance Dublin League the club progressed to the higher graded Athletic Union Dublin League and to senior level in the League of Ireland A Championship and from there to its current position in the Leinster Senior League. Apart from its Senior team, the club fields a second adult & an U19 team in the Combined Counties Football League. At underage level, the club fields 15 teams in the Midland Schoolboys/Girls League (MSL) for boys and girls from U8 to U16 years. In the past 12 months, the club has opened an academy which welcomes younger players between the ages of 5 & 7 years including players with special needs. This year the club’s focus will be their underage girl’s structure & recruitment which will go a long way to achieving their goal of fielding a Senior Ladies Team in the CCFL in the near future.
Since its inception Tullamore Town FC has enjoyed great success over the years. The club has won the Midland League on numerous occasions and in 1965 lifted the Bradmola Cup. They also won the Intermediate Cup in 1972 and the League of Ireland B Division in 1987. In recent seasons the club has won the Tom Cullen Cup and been LSL Division B Champions. In 2016 Tullamore created its own piece of history by becoming the first team from their division to reach the final of the Metropolitan Cup before losing 4-2 to Drumcondra in a thrilling encounter in Tolka Park.
Tullamore Town FC has always put great emphasis on contributing to the local area and in particular with forming partnerships with minority groups such as travelling and non-national communities. It has also built a strong relationship with the Special Olympics soccer squad with a number of the club’s coaches accompanying the team to International tournaments. The club has also played host to a number of under-age international games involving Ireland, Scotland, Turkey, Latvia and Belgium.
In attaining the FAI Club Mark, the club has reached a milestone in recognition of its governance and commitment to best practice at grassroots level. They wish to thank everyone that has been involved with this achievement and specifically Gary Seery of the FAI for his help and direction during the process. Onwards and Upwards, the club’s next goal is the FAI Club Mark One Star Award!
The FAI Club Mark is free and optional for clubs and aims to:
• Improve the management of clubs ‘off the field’
• Establish and promote best practice
• Empower and support clubs
• Recognise and reward clubs for achieving high standards
• Increase a club’s capacity to operate effectively and grow football in communities throughout Ireland.
If your club is interested in learning more about the FAI Club Mark please complete this short Registration Form