Erin's Own GAC

In 1923, a young priest hailing from Co Down moved to instigate a club in the area to participate in the newly formed South West Antrim League. He was a curate residing at Cargin Chapel called Fr Dan Magennis. The name Erin's Own (Clann na hÉireann) was the suggestion of Mr Liam O'Connor, a Connaught man who lived locally, and was after his home team in North Co Mayo. Soon after the club in Cargin had been established, he moved to Co. Derry and formed Erin's Own Knockloughrim (soon to be known as Lavey) in 1926.

By adopting the existing local townland teams, such as the Bray Midges and Moneynick, and later gaining support from families in Toome, Erin’s Own Cargin was inspired to grow immeasurably.

In 1929, 6 years after the formation of Erin’s Own Cargin, Lamh Dhearg Toome won their first Antrim Senior Football Championship, a remarkable feat just 1 year after winning the Antrim Junior Championship in 1928. Lamh Dhearg Toome gradually faded from the scene shortly after their historical achievement and by the 1950s had ceased to exist with their members assimilating with Erin's Own, thereby giving an inextricable link between Erin's Own and the old Lamh Dhearg club. The descendants of the notable Lamh Dhearg members who came to Erin's Own are well-known and have always been and continue to be at the core of the club. We give tribute to them with our Away strip being the old colours of Lamh Dhearg and their 'Magpies' attire.

One former Lamh Dhearg member to note is the recently deceased and forward-thinking Brian Devlin. A driven man, Brian devoted his time and energies to the development of underage Gaelic games and activities in the region. Behind the scenes, Brian was instrumental in promoting the move of Cargin’s base to a permanent home on the Shore Road in the 1960s as well as acquiring the grounds from Sean McCann in March 1970, to give a stable base and grounds from which to play. It is at this ground that they have flourished both on and off the field. Since their arrival at the Shore Road (Bóthar Na Trá) they have collected a whole host of titles, moving steadily to the forefront of Antrim club football.

In their formative years the Erin's Own men found the going tough in terms of silverware attained. It was not until 1938 that they collected their first County title in hurling as part of an amalgamation with near neighbours Creggan Kickhams and Tír Na nÓg by winning the 1938 Junior Hurling Championship and followed this up by winning the Senior hurling championship in 1939.

The breakthrough for Cargin football came after 30 years in 1953 when we won the County Junior Football title achieving senior status for the first time, spring boarding from the Minor team of 1945 who won the SW Minor Championship. A football generation later, we won our first Senior football championship in 1974, again launched from the superb Minor team of the late 60s.

Since 1953, Cargin have collected a host of titles at all levels - too numerous to mention here - and have gradually moved to the forefront of Antrim’s men and women’s football and camogie. Our facilities are used 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. With two full size floodlit pitches, all-weather Astroturf training area, new bar and entertainment facilities, changing rooms, weights room, gymnasiums and a new covered elevated balcony for spectators.

The result of this work will mean Cargin will be one of the best equipped and active clubs in Ulster, and one of the very few clubs with all requirements in one single location. We will be completely self sufficient with no reliance on outside amenities, council grounds or remote organisations. One Club, One location.

Our history has been a character building journey, often fraught with difficulty and disappointment, but also tremendous highs and joy. The players and members of Erin’s Own have endured and grew, instilling a passion inspired by the efforts of their forebearers, driving onwards to continually improve and challenge. As a result, they will continue to carry the torch of Cumann Luthcleas Gael, ignited by the spark of the members of 1923 and 1929.

The GAA flame still burns bright in the chapelries of Cargin and Toome.