Gaelic Football is a field game often described as a mixture of soccer and rugby, although it predates both of those games. Indeed it is argued that Australian Rules (AFL) evolved from Gaelic Football as a result of the many thousands who were either deported or immigrated to Australia from the middle of the nineteenth century.
How it all started – Clancy’s Cusacks
Michael Cusack’s was founded in 1988 by Seamus Clancy, Kevin Malone, Aidan McDermott, John Petty, David Fahy, and Noel Canavan (all hailing from the Banner County) and Eddie McGrath Maloney from Limerick.
Prior to that, Padraig Pearse’s had won the 1987 Championship in Sydney with Seamus Clancy, Henry O’Leary and David Fahy playing on that winning Pearse’s side. During the 1987 off season, Aidan McDermott, John Petty, Martin Sexton and Kevin Malone all from Clare arrived in Australia. Clancy and Fahy had played football with them back in Clare and they were set to join the Pearse’s Club.
In the meantime, McDermott hooked up with some more new arrivals looking to play some ball. They included Greg O’Connor and Brothers Philip and Nico Carroll from Louth, Richie McElligott from Kerry and Tim McBride from Donegal. It soon became clear that there were enough players for two teams at Pearse’s so the group resolved to set up a new Club.
Initially the club consisted of just a Men’s Football team, ably captained by Seamus Clancy, and they celebrated their first season in style capturing the much coveted Central Coast Competition Trophy in Gosford that April.
Since then, Michael Cusack’s Men’s Football teams have been triumphant in all NSW GAA competitions and players from all over Ireland (as well as some foreign imports!) have played a big part in their success.
In addition to our founders, other players who have given loyal service to Cusack’s Men’s Gaelic Football over the years include: Barry O’Connor and Michael (Skelly) Carrol (Louth), Declan Garry (Clare), Ger Power and Brendan Coleman (Cork), Mark (Tosh) Campbell (Armagh), Brian Daly and Darren Kierce (Clare), Conor Burke (Limerick), David Farrelly (Dublin), Eamonn Thomas (Mayo), Podge O’Reilly (Longford), Mark Murphy and Daniel Ward (Fermanagh).
Back (L-R) John Coleman (Selector), Greg O’Connor, Gerry Brady, Martin Sexton, Frank O’Shea, Eamonn Guinevan, Kevin Malone, David Fahy, Philip Carroll, Vince Brady, Seanie Sheehan and Noel Canavan (Manager)
Front (L-R) Ger O’Connor, Aidan McDermott, JJ O’Mahony, Henry O’Leary, Seamus Clancy, Mick Larkin, John Petty and Richie McElligiott
A new era – Michael Cusack’s Ladies Football
1991 witnessed the dawning of a new era for both NSW and Australasian GAA with the introduction of Ladies Gaelic Football. Before the end of the 1991 NSW League, which had only consisted of Men’s Football and Hurling, it was suggested that a Ladies competition should be introduced for the upcoming Championship.
Various attempts had been made in the past to get a competition up and running for girls in NSW but nothing much ever seemed to come of it. However, this time interest was running high and three teams entered the 1991 NSWGAA Championship – Michael Cusack’s, Central Coast and Young Irelands.
Cusack’s and Young Irelands reached the inaugural final with the Cusack’s girls winning the match 4-8 to 4-3. This was the first officially organised “Ladies Football Championship” in Australia and it was a great feat for the Cusack’s girls to be crowned the first winners.
Credit must be given to Henry Phelan, Aidan McDermott and Eddie McGrath Maloney for their hard work in getting the team off the ground, and to Therese McHugh (Galway) and Liz Quaid (Limerick) who were instrumental in setting up the ladies team.
The team on that historic day: Tayna Peita (New Zealand), Liz Quaid (Limerick), Therese McHugh (Galway), Marie Carroll (Tipperary), Celeste Kearney (Kerry), Margo O’Connor (Limerick), Bernie O’Donnell (Mayo), Monica Collins (Clare), Martina Keogh (Roscommon), Marie Behan (Kilkenny), Eileen Whelan (Limerick), Louise Scanlon (Limerick), Breda O’Connor (Kerry), Theresa Hynes (Ga
lway), Yvonne Muldoon (Roscommon), Aileen Durkan (Down), Mary Walshe (Cork), Anne Sexton (Clare), Thrish Fleming (Kerry), Monica Browne (Clare), Elaine McDonagh (Limerick) and Karina Ryan (Waterford).
Since then Cusack’s Ladies have been the most successful team of the Club winning over 30 competition titles!