Long before Ahane G.A.A. Club was formally founded in 1926, the tradition of hurling was already very strong in the Ahane and Castleconnell parishes. In the late 1800s Michael Mackey, Mick’s grandfather, led the local men in an ancient form of our national game called ‘Hurling Home’ in the fields around Sallymount. The trial between neighbouring districts played without rules or referee was to find the side capable of bringing the ball to their own territory.

By 1886 the neighboring parishes of Castleconnell and Ahane were formally affiliated in the new Gaelic Athletic Association. Castleconnell hurling club sides were prominent at the end of the 19th century under various names including Castleconnell Emmets, Stradbally and Sallymount. In 1910 and 1911, the Limerick GAA Castleconnell selection won the Munster Championship and were runners up in 2 successive All-Ireland finals. Many family names still common today in the parishes were to the fore in those panels, names like Hassett, Mackey, Lee, Scanlan, Vaughan, Herbert and Carroll to name but a few.

The famed Ahane GAA club as it is known today was founded at a meeting in Richill National School called by Rev. P. O’Reilly C.C. on November 22nd 1926. Ahane played their first match against Newport on December 12th 1926 in Ned Ryan’s field in Knocksentry which they narrowly lost. The Ahane committee created a shock when they announced they were affiliating a senior as well as a junior team in 1927. In hindsight this proved a wise decision, keeping as many senior and junior players as possible in the parish playing with the club and providing a solid playing base and momentum for the fledgling club going into the 1930s.

When G.A.A. Clubs are discussed in the length and breadth of Ireland, Ahane will always be one to be mentioned because of the success the Club enjoyed in the 1930′s and 1940′s. During this era, Ahane produced some outstanding hurlers such as the Mackeys (Mick and John), Timmy Ryan, the prince of midfielders, Jackie Power, Paddy Scanlon, Mick Hickey, the Keanes, Jimmy Close, the Herberts and a host of other inter-county stars. Other family names still prominent today in Ahane were also key to the successes of the 30’s and 40’s… Ryan, Roche, Hayes, Hickey, Byrnes, Conway, Keane, Joyce to name but a few. Ahane’s next senior hurling title came in 1955.

Of course, no history of Ahane would be complete without making special reference to the legend that was Mick Mackey. Between 1933 and 1939 he played a key role in helping Ahane to an unprecedented seven county titles in-a-row. Not only did he have major success on the hurling field but Mackey also won five consecutive senior county football titles with Ahane between 1935 and 1939. From 1942 until 1949 Ahane captured another unprecedented seven county titles in-a-row, with Mackey featuring prominently in all these victories. Mackey’s importance to Limerick hurling is impossible to overstate. When he burst on the hurling scene in the 1930s he was unquestionably the greatest hurler yet seen. From his usual position at centre-forward Mackey inspired the whole team, and their reputation as great entertainers of hurling owed a lot to his charismatic style and his new hurling techniques. He was physically imposing and his swashbuckling style brought huge crowds to see him play. During his playing days it was Mackey that developed the solo-run style, preferring to bounce the sliothar on the hurley as he charged at defences. Mackey’s status as one of the all-time greats is self-evident. In a senior inter-county career that lasted for seventeen years he was the star player on the team during Limerick’s golden age of hurling. Mackey won three All-Ireland titles, five Munster titles, five consecutive National Hurling League titles and eight Railway Cup titles with Munster.

As an aside, legend has it that the war cry ‘Come on Ahane – The spuds are boilin’ originated from Mrs. Mary Mackey mother of John, Mick and Paddy. It appears that her boys went practicing after Mass in Castleconnell on Sunday and to herald a halt to proceedings, Mrs. Mackey would stand at the kitchen door and shout ‘Come on Ahane – The spuds are boilin’ to make sure her trio were on time for Sunday dinner!

With the purchase of fine new playing fields in Newgarden in 1982, now named Mackey Park, the Ahane club gave total commitment to the development of under-age teams and are now reaping a rich harvest fielding teams from under 8 up to senior level in the famous green jersey with gold sash. Indeed, it is interesting to see Turlough Herbert’s (a prominent member of the 1998 and ’99 senior hurling county champion teams) recent recollections on his time in the club during the 1980’s. Turlough’s memories zoom in on the volunteer efforts of backroom staff like Paul Kennedy then principal at Lisnagry National School as Bórd na nÓg mentor in Chief. The late Kitty Hassett of Richill, very much the grand old dame of the underage club and a very positive influence in those years. Tom Foley, grandfather of Mark who is a member of today’s Ahane Senior hurling panel and how his fruit and veg Hiace pick-up was transformed into a personnel carrier for the young hurlers of Ahane….and surely people like Paul, Tom, Kitty and the many other able volunteer administrators and coaches in club through-out the 1980s reaped the rewards of their coaching efforts.

Despite having some very good teams in the 1970′s, Ahane could not overcome South Liberties who were dominant in East Limerick during this time. Slowly but very surely in the 1980s Ahane started to see success first in under-age divisional titles and then winning the County Under 21 hurling title in 1986, County Minor hurling in 1991 and County Minor Football in 1992 and this paved the way to subsequent senior hurling successes in 1998, 1999 and 2004. The traditional Ahane Hurling family names like Herbert, Hassett and Keane started to re-appear on team sheets backed up by new names like Smith, Meskell, Murnane, O’Grady, Moran and Madden.

Who can ever forget the jubilant scenes when the Daly Cup was presented to Kevin Herbert in 1998 and Clement Smith in 1999 bridging a 43 year gap. These two wins and the huge excitement they generated within the Club also had significant impact on a group of 7 and 8 year old players in the Club who subsequently went on to win the All-Ireland Feile title in 2004, a title which had not been won by any Limerick Club since 1984. Ahane again contested the All-Ireland Feile final in 2007 but lost out to Castleknock. In 2004 the Senior hurlers led by Cathal O’Reilly again won the County title bringing Ahane’s total to 19 titles and the leading Club in Limerick in terms of titles won.

Today, Ahane is a vibrant, thriving, progressive and forward looking club with excellent playing fields, a spacious clubhouse incorporating modern dressing rooms, bar and function rooms and has become a focal point for the whole Community. The club has associated camogie and ladies football clubs which also compete at all age groups. Club members are also very active in both Scór na nÓg and Senior Scór competitions achieving success at provincial and All-Ireland levels.

From the townlands of Ballyvarra and Killeengarriff in the South, through Newgarden, Ballinacourty and Bunkey to Lacka, Coolready and Derryhasna in the North, the club covers the parochial areas of Ahane, Castleconnell and Montpelier and has 3 National Schools. The population of the Parish has grown enormously in recent years and the club looks forward to the challenges and opportunities this growth presents. Yes, we understand completely where we have come from, the tradition is very much alive and history is still being made in Ahane … Come on Ahane, the spuds are boilin’.