Although Ballingarry A.F.C. was only formed in 1984, soccer was played by many from the parish well before that date. In the late 1960’s, a Ballingarry team played in and indeed contested the final of the Holycross tournament, with Jim Carmody, Pat Malone, Paddy Dunworth and Moss Doody being members of the side that was probably the very first soccer team to represent the parish.
The foundations for the club were most likely laid in 1974, when the under-12 team became the first to win a memento of any sort, finishing in the bronze medal position in the Community Games under the guidance of Dr. Michael Lucey. Many of this team went on to play for the junior team in the following decade. In the intervening years, players from the parish were playing for local clubs such as Deel United in Rathkeale, until such time as a junior team was in place. Many would also reference a 7-a-side tournament organised by Moss McAuliffe and Conor Snow in 1981 as another major step in bringing soccer to Ballingarry. It was run on an annual basis, and contributed greatly to the creation of a soccer community in the parish, as numbers of up to 100 were taking part.
The exact date that Ballingarry A.F.C. was formed is not recorded, however what is certain is that it was in February 1984, in the supper room, that Ballingarry Association Football Club was formed. After much discussion by a gathering of approximately 30 people, it was decided to enter a team in the Desmond District League for the coming season 1984/85. The following officers and committee were elected and entrusted with the task of getting the club off the ground, Chairman: Moss McAuliffe, Secretary: Noel Hayes, Treasurer: John Clancy, Committee: Joe Burke, James Clancy, James Cronin. The team manager was Moss McAuliffe, who was joined in the role by Moss Doody later that season. It was decided that the clubs colours would be yellow and green, which with little variation, remain in place today.
With very little actual resources, the club set about raising funds to make the club solvent – up until this point the only item the club had in its possessions was the name Ballingarry A.F.C., nothing else. A sponsored walk was organised, money was generated, and a pitch was secured in large part thanks to the generosity of the late Archdeacon Lyons, and affectionately became known as the ‘Canons Field’. During the course of the first season, the club moved home to a pitch supplied by the late Bernard Sheehy at the rear of the ‘Grove’. All the necessary equipment was purchased, the clubs application to the Desmond League was successful, and the aforementioned annual 7-a-side tournament was the basis for selection of the first Ballingarry A.F.C. squad. Finally, the parish was to have its very own soccer team, and the new season was awaited with great anticipation.
Ballingarry entered Division 2B of the Desmond District League, and the first Sunday in September of 1984 was the momentous day on which the club played their first competitive game, in Askeaton against the local B team. Liam Casey had the honour of scoring the first goal for the club in competitive football, and the day had a happy ending with a 4-3 victory recorded. The line-up on that famous day was as follows: Shane Hartnett, John Clancy, Noel Hayes, John Murphy, Anthony Quaid, James Clancy, Liam Casey, Tommy Cronin, Ned Cagney, James Cronin, Noel Forde and Billy Hayes. A ‘B’ team was in place from 1989 until early 1993, but due to falling numbers could not be maintained, and the emphasis was placed once again on one squad of players.
The Club Crest
At the club’s Annual General Meeting on June 15th 1989, the committee proposed the idea of a crest for the club, which was passed. The crest was researched by Mr. Patrick O’Doherty and designed by Paul Cassidy.
The crest is divided into three sections, the top scroll showing the name of the club (A.F.C. is an abbreviation for Association Football Club) and the year of the formation of the club, 1984.
The middle section is a shield subdivided into 3 parts and joined by a football, the symbol of football in the parish. The top section depicts a hill, and is a reference to Knockfierna hill, the historical local landmark which it was felt was appropriate to be represented on the crest. In the lower left section is a lion, which is the DeLacy Desmond crest, who were the one-time owners of Ballingarry castle, which is shown in the lower right section, and again it was thought appropriate to represent this on the crest. Finally in the bottom scroll is the Latin phrase “Meritis Augentur Honores” which when translated to English means “Rewards Increase With Effort”. It was agreed that this would be a fitting club motto.
The crest is the official emblem of Ballingarry A.F.C. and is not the crest of Ballingarry village or parish.