The History of County Carlow Football Club

The Provincial Towns Cup was won on 12 occasions, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1957, 1961, 1965, 1977, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1997 when they also won the Leinster League Division 1. The latter win earned the club a place in the play-offs to become a Senior Club in which they played Connamara Blacks, Midleton and Omagh. They won the play-offs and Co. Carlow became a Senior Club for the first time in the 1997/98 season, playing in Division 4 of the AIL League. As a result, Leslie Dowley became the first representative of County Carlow Football Club on the Leinster Branch and the clubs admission to senior status was proposed by John West (Trinity) and seconded by Rory Barry-Duke (Suttonians). Five years later leslie Dowley was succeeded by Stuart Bayley who will have the honour of being the first President of the Leinster Branch to represent our Club in 2011.

In their first year as a Senior Club, they won Division 4 of the AIL League and were promoted to Division 3. They subsequently gained rapid promotion through the leagues and played Division 1 rugby for the first time in the 2001/2002 season. This was a phenomenal achievement and unequalled by any other junior club. County Carlow FC played Division 1 rugby for 4 years but after a number of poor years they are back in the Leinster League for the 2010-2011 season. As a junior club they first played in the Leinster Senior Cup against Trinity in 1976 and as a Senior Club they went on to win the trophy back-to-back in 2003 and again in 2004.

The Senior side is not the only side to have success on the rugby field. The Second XV has won the Provincial Seconds Cup on 6 occasions while there has been 4 victories in the Anderson and 5 in the Dunne Cup. There have also been 25 trophies won at underage level confirming the clubs commitment to youth rugby.

Co. Carlow Football Club is a family orientated club, drawing much of its support and playing strength from the local community. The level of continuous involvement is exemplified by the Oliver family (all named James) who have provided four generations of players to the club, 2 captains and three presidents. Jim Oliver Jnr. also captained the Leinster Junior XV when the first Introprovincial against Munster was played in Oak Park in 1967. The fifth Jimmy Oliver is still too young to don the black and amber but already has the distinction of being the grandson of two past presidents.

Leslie J. Dowley

A full history of the club has been compiled by Mr. Tom O’Brien and is available in hard back from the club Honorary Treasurer for €5.00 per copy.