GAA

'Bellaghy Is Known For Football. We're The Most Successful Team In Derry Football'

'Bellaghy Is Known For Football. We're The Most Successful Team In Derry Football'

On the list of Derry Senior Football Championship winning clubs, one sits clear on top with the most titles. Bellaghy Wolfe Tones have won the championship on 21 occasions.

In the latest installment of our Born To Play series in association with Sports Direct - proud supporters of Bellaghy GAC - Balls.ie recently spent some time at the historic club to capture some of the magic that goes in to a tiny village in East Derry becoming the most successful club in the county.

"Bellaghy is known for football," said club chairman Kevin Doherty.

We have been very strong throughout the years. We're the most successful team in Derry football.

We won our first championship in '51. We won a fair few through to the late '50s, right through the '60s to '68 where we won our first Ulster [title].

And then that started the ball rolling: We won the All-Ireland then in '72.

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Laurence Diamond captained Bellaghy to that 1972 All-Ireland final win against UCC.

"I remember the final whistle, lifting the referee and throwing him into the air!" he said.

"Coming back with the trophy, we got to the old Gaelic Hall and stand out and the spectators were all there. There was a man playing bagpipes and then parading the town afterwards. That was special."

Along with Gaelic football, there is also a camogie club in Bellaghy. On any given night, three pitches will be on the go between various teams.

"The tradition here is huge," said former player turned coach Ciaran McNally.

"Every club has their tradition. We're particularly proud of ours.

"Now over the last while, that (winning titles) has sort of dropped a wee bit but there's serious emphasis on the youngsters again. That's starting to bear fruit.

"The club is busy every day. It wouldn't matter what night you come here.

"Nearly everybody in the area is involved in some shape or form. It's really just fairly central to the town itself and everybody that's involved."

Balls Team

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