History of indoor football leagues in County Louth
An upcoming talk at the County Museum here in Dundalk will give a fuller picture of the various indoor football leagues that ran in county Louth and its environs from the mid-sixties.
‘A Forgotten History: The indoor football leagues of 1960s Ireland in the border region’ takes place on February 22 at 7pm and compliments the Abbey Ballroom Indoor Football exhibition currently on display at the County Museum Dundalk. The exhibition focuses on the Drogheda indoor football league that was played in the Abbey Ballroom, it is open to the public and is free of charge.
During this period, indoor football was seen as entertainment and not sport, which is why so many GAA players were able to participate without being penalised by Rule 27. This rule forbade members of the Gaelic Athletic Association from playing or attending foreign sports and was only removed in 1971.
Women were actively encouraged to participate in these competitions and in Drogheda it led to the development of outdoor teams that competed with other teams from various parts of Ireland.
A lot of the teams that competed in these leagues were formed in the workplace and this was reflected in their chosen names, for example: The Independents after the Drogheda Independent and Carrollettes after the Carroll’s Cigarette Factory in Dundalk. As there is little secondary source material available, the main sources for this research are newspapers and oral history interviews. This talk is just one small case study of a much larger project that needs to be undertaken while this period of history is still within living memory.
The Abbey Ballroom indoor football exhibition was originally displayed in the Drogheda Museum Millmount during the summer of 2015. However, new research into the history of indoor football in the Dundalk area has uncovered information about similar competitions that ran in the Adelphi Ballroom in Dundalk as part of the May Time Festival, the Embassy Ballroom in Castleblayney, the Pavilion Ballroom in Blackrock, the Parochial Hall in Inniskeen and the Beechmount in Navan. It is hoped that people who either, played or attended those competitions could come along to the opening night of the exhibition and share their stories.
The Casuals from Dundalk dominated the women’s competitions in Drogheda, but did they feature strongly in the leagues closer to home? In the men’s competition, the Beatlers from Inniskeen were reported to have been the only team with a supporter’s club, were you a member of that club?
Come along on the night to share your memories, photos and memorabilia. No matter how long or short we would like to hear all your stories.
To find out more on Dundalk Museum click HERE