Club History
Extract from Dromore Gala Brochure (2008)...

As we gather tonight in splendid surroundings to celebrate the seventy five years of existence of St.Dympnas GFC, we arrive triumphant as Tyrone county champions of 2007. We also are in a decade when our county brought home the Sam Maguire cup twice so far! Such magnificent accomplishments might be taken for granted, such triumphs might be seen as par for the course in the future. Therefore, although we are here to celebrate, and rightly so, it might also be good for us to remember the efforts, the wins and the losses, the highs and the lows that are part of our beloved club. We also remember that, as a modern gaelic club, we are not just there to cater for mens’ football. Our ladies football club is now an integrated, vibrant movement within the club whilst our sister club, Naomh Eoin, caters for hurling. Unfortunately, whilst camogie was played for a period this noble activity has temporarily, we hope, lapsed. Meanwhile a few loyal volunteers took after cultural activities and we compete annually in Scor and Scor Na N’og. We are also on the cusp of major capital developments which will ultimately provide state of the art facilities for our future generations.

Ricey with Sam Maguire Cup, Jim Curran & Canon Breen

All this was far removed from the scene which existed in the early parts of the last century, thirty years before the present club was founded. As home rule was being mooted, many thinking nationalists observed anxiously the gradual disruption of “Irishness” from all parts of the island. Men like William T.Grainger and Fr. Matt Maguire, CC Dromore and later PP Kilskeery were major movers in promoting national pastimes and thinking, in this part of the world. Fr.Maguire arranged an annual aeridheacht in Kilskeery but major support came from the Tummery area. The Dromore area was represented by no less than three clubs in the period prior to 1910 with Tummery Red Hughs existing as a thriving hurling club having evolved from an earlier Lisdhoo club (Lisdoo is in Trillick parish). Letteree United Gaels were organised in the North West of the parish whilst Aughnamoe Young Irelands carried the flag for the Southern fringes. However the next decade, with its emphasis on political activity both home and abroad, brought a major decline in GAA activities. The McManus brothers, Richard and his brother Fr.James seemed to be the main proponents in attempting to arouse interest in the area. Fr.James was chairman of the Tyrone Co.Board for several years whilst Richard was a prominent referee.

30's to 70's
Fr James McManus, Chairman Co. Board 1917-20Andy Montague, Treasurer Co. Board 1947-49  Sean McNaboe, Dromore - Later Fr. Sean

After partition, involvement in Gaelic games became increasingly difficult as the new authorities in Northern Ireland attempted to dissuade individuals from playing or attending games. The Dromore Davitts played for some years in the West Tyrone League before seemingly disappearing in the late 1920’s. Just prior to the founding of the present club, players from the parish played in the Fermanagh league under the badge of Seemuldoon (a neighbouring townland in Ederney parish). They actually won a Fermanagh junior championship in 1932!

At any rate, major efforts were now being made to establish an affiliated Dromore club and in 1933, the present An Droim Mor Naomh Damhait came into existence under the presidency of Fr. H O’Hanlon CC. Consolidation was fairly rapid and successful with three players representing the club on the Tyrone Minor team which reached the All-Ireland final in 1934. However, JP McDermott, John Campbell and Eugene Gallagher were to lose out on the medals since Tyrone withdrew after a series of boardroom wrangles. The club continued to evolve and the families like the Currans, Montagues, Gallaghers and Poyntz were still remembered for their contribution. Perhaps the team that is most frequently discussed is the 1946 team. This team, with many county representatives had steamrolled through the championship and met Coalisland Fiannas on the eight of September 1946. Excitement mounted in Dromore and a mass exodus of supporters journeyed to Plunkett Park in Pomeroy for an expected victory. However, the team had an off-day and were well beaten. Furthermore, the legend of the “famous” curse was intensified. The latter years of the decade were brightened by the splendid odysseys of the Tyrone Minors who won successive All-Irelands in 1947 and 48. Michael Vaughan, Jack Poyntz, Harry Hartop, Joe Colton, John O’Reilly and Tony Carney were our minors who were members of these successful panels.

The team continued to contest leagues and championships in the 50’s without any ultimate success. The latter 50’s are best remembered by GAA followers for the successful exploits of the County Team who won Ulster in 1956/57 and narrowly failed to win national honours. Anthony Connolly was our representative on those panels but we also lay claim to Paddy Corey who was by then with Omagh St.Enda’s but who played his early football with St.Dympnas.

The early 60’s marked a low point in the club. Although the club was enjoying a lot of underage success our seniors temporarily went out of existence! The irrepressible Tommy Hunter was so sure that this state of affairs would continue that he transferred to our neighbours, Trillick. However, “Cometh the hour cometh the man,” as they say. As luck would have it, local schoolteacher and fervent Gael, John McCusker, returned at about this time. His promptings, along with Andy Montague and others, brought about the re-entry of St.Dympnas into the Junior League. They became Tyrone Junior Champions at first go and a young, exciting panel ass emerging. As they quickly progressed into senior ranks again, the team became firm favourites at local tournaments which were numerous and popular in the 60’s. The young Dromore team produced effervescent displays against kingpins of the area like Clontibret, St.Eunan’s, Ballybofey and St.Endas. The McElduffs, McDonnells, Hunter, McQuaid, a young Seamus Donaghy and co. had certainly put Dromore back on the map again. Unfortunately, despite going close, they failed in the final stages of the championship on several occasions. The “curse” was still lurking.

70's to 2007
St. John’s Team - 1967

As the inevitable end of this panel came closer, Dromore sank into the intermediate rounds briefly in the mid 70s. They succeeded in winning the intermediate championship in 1974 when they defeated Moortown. Meanwhile the worth of John McCusker and others in St.Johns school was coming to fruition and a new batch of upcoming players was heralded by the winning of the juvenile championship in 1974 followed by a similar feat for the minors in ‘6775. St.Dympnas were back as serious contenders in senior ranks. New exciting talent was emerging like the ultra-talented Tommy Fiddis, Gerard Conolly, the Campbell brothers, F.McMahon, Patsy McNabb and Pat McCusker, John McGread and all the others were the new kids on the block and their optimism and energetic play did not signpost the fate that was to befall them. This team was to be defeated in three county finals, twice by Carrickmore in 1977 and 78, and then by Augher in 1982. The first defeat by Carrickmore was especially gut wrenching as the team went down by a single point, having staged a brave revival. Obviously these defeats left their mark and the panel began to dissipate in the late 80’s, many people believing again that they were victims of the iniquitous curse.

Dromore St.Dympnas appeared in yet another senior final in 1992, defeated again this time by Moortown. The club had the consolation of its minors becoming Tyrone champions in a very low scoring game. The nineties became a decade in which Tyrone football was dominated by Carrickmore and Errigal. Although we were always competing no titles eminated.

The century ended and as always the case, our club and supporters watched with interest as yet another bunch of promising youngsters began to emerge. Peter Ward, Joe Campbell, Colm McCullagh, Kevin O’Brien, Austin Donaghy and Ryan McMenamin were appearing on various county panels whilst the rest of the panel was filling with suitable talent. The optimism was growing again! The years of the first half of the new decade will always be remembered for the success of our county team who became All-Ireland champions in 2003 and 2005. All our hopes and expectations rested on the shoulders of “our man” Ricey as we all gathered into Croke Park in 2003 for the unique all-Ulster final against Armagh. Not alone did we win but “Ricey” was a star. The repeat of this feat in 2005 was even sweeter as Tyrone defeated the great Kerry and the rest, as they say, is history. Ryan Mc Menamin was our first all-star and was a role model for the many youngsters who turned out for the club on a Saturday morning in a new fervency for the game and the club. Meanwhile the senior team was, almost surreptitiously climbing the ranks in Tyrone. All-County leagues were won in 2003, 2004 and 2006; but Dromore had won leagues before!

Victory at last...
Dromore Supporters, Healy Park - October 2007

Then came 2007 and I don’t have to remind anyone of that. The scenes that greeted the 2007 champions on their arrival back to their native heath will never be forgotten and Fabian’s dedication of the victory to anyone who “wore, watched or washed the blue jersey” was pure Tennysonian. The winning of the All-county league put the icing on the cake and the road to celebration of our 75th was well and truly paved. We are sitting on a higher rung than at anytime in the past but, tonight, we remember the men who have gone before, the men who laid the foundations, the men who lifted the ediface when it was in danger of collapse. Tonight we salute them all, living and dead for they are all our ancestors. As has always been the case, we watch with anticipation the emerging talent that will bring the club forward; young players like Ronan McNabb and Conor O’Neill, present members of the Tyrone Minor panels, u-16s, u14s and u12s coming after. Yes, a Gaelic football club is ever transient, with that goes the hopes and aspirations of everyone. To the future!