Cumann Lúthchleas Gael An Clár
With a Clareman, Michael Cusack from Carron, being the person who lit the torch that led to the founding of the GAA in 1884, it is not surprising that the county took an active part in the activities of the new association from the very beginning.
When the first Co. Board was formed in Feb. 1887, twenty clubs were represented at the meeting in Ennis. The meeting elected a President. E.M. Bennett, a Secretary, Pat Aherne, and a committee of five. They were J. Scanlan (Killaloe), J. Purcell (Barefield), P. McSweeney (Ennis), J. McNamara (Ennis) and Thomas O’Donnellan Blake Foster (Kilfenora).
Clare teams, hurling and football club champions, participated in the first All-Ireland Championships in 1887, the only occasion in which they were held in an open-draw basis. Both teams received walkovers from the Wicklow champions in the first rounds, which were scheduled for Athlone on July 19th, 1887.
Subsequently, the Newmarket-on-Fergus footballers were defeated by Templemore (Tipperary champions) and the hurlers of Garranboy Smith O’Briens were beaten by Thurles. Both games were played in Nenagh.
Garranboy won the first Clare Hurling Championship, defeating Ogonnelloe in the final. Newmarket beat Cratloe in the first football championship in which eight teams participated.
In 1887, Ennisman, E.M. Bennett, became the second National President of the GAA.
Tulla were the first Clare team to contest an All-Ireland final, but were beaten by Dublin Kickhams in the 1889 hurling decider.
Clare’s first year of glory came in 1914, when both the Senior and Junior hurlers won the All-Ireland titles, the first time this was achieved by any county. Laois were the opposition in both All-Irelands, and Cork had been conquered in the Munster finals.
Clare won the Munster Senior Football Championship for the first time in 1917. They defeated Galway in the All-Ireland Semi-Final, but lost to Wexford in the final.