Introduction of Hurling in Loughgiel
The ordnance survey parish memoirs of 1830 state that in Loughgiel the people played; "A sort of hurling, or camon playing, as it is called in the North, is still kept up here chiefly among the Catholics.” Hurling was introduced in an organised was by James and John McAleese of Tully in 1904 with the assistance of Dan Dempsey of Belfast whose mother was McIlhone from Tully. Also interested at the time were John McFerran, James Walsh, Henry McKee, Edward McCormick and some others of the same generation.
They played friendly matches with Carey and Cushendun.
In 1907 two teams from the parish entered competitions in North Antrim. One was called Tir-na-nog and played their games in Alex McCloskey’s field, just across the road from the Fr.Healy Memorial Park.
The other team was named Dalriada and they played their games in John McKendry’s Falls on the top of Ballyknock hill.
At that time there were seventeen players on each team and the point posts were at each side of the goal posts, instead of on top.
The present Loughgiel Shamrock Hurling club came into being about 1915. It was started by Eddie Connolly with the assistance of Harry Connolly, John Campbell and some others from the Magherahoney end of the parish. The first secretary of Loughgiel Shamrocks was Johnny McIntyre, who had just returned from England at that time. These were joined by Paddy McGarry, Denis McCormick, Dan Joseph Loughridge, Peter Henry, Patrick McKendry and others.
For a time they practised in a field belonging to Jamie Watt of Coolkeeran, then they moved to McKendry’s Falls, Ballyknock. They practiced on this field, but they played their games in Alex’s field, which at that time was set in conacre. (They could only get it for matches, not practices).