In 1858 the new railway line arrived in a much divided district that would later become the Parish of Croghan. The howls of hunger wailing from the Carrick workhouse was still fresh in the minds and memories of the people of the area, and this new mode of transport whould shortly expedite the flight from misery. By the end of that year Tumna South, Killukin, Killummod and eastern parts of Kilcola and Eastersnow were amalgamated to form the present parish of Croghan. Thirty years later on 2nd March, 1889 another unifying force would arrive in the parish with the founding of the G.A.A. club Croghan John Mitchels and to be followed late in the spring with Drumlion Henry Grattens, and force that we are glad to say is alive and well 120 years on, starting as an arm in the fight of the Land War and playing an important role in many that have followed. The parish was then divided between the landlords, Lloyds and St. George under the Unions of Carrick and Boyle.
Mitchel’s and Gratten’s made their mark on the playing fields and under the banner of Croghan reached the Co. Senior Finals of 1903 and 1908 and again having a powerful team in the period of 1916-1920 when players such as John Kenny and Odey Travers would carry the fight. Again in the 1930s a great Croghan team would emerge and eventually in 1939 under the leadership of Jim Creighton win the County Junior Final. The unity of purpose that brought Croghan and Drumlion together for the 1939 title would re-emerge again in 1949 with the founding of SHANNON GAELS.
A great minor team of 1951 winning the North title and the Junior team winning the Northern League in 1953 would see the decade end with a second County Junior title in 1960. This junior team was further boosted by the minors at 1960 and 1961 who were county finalists, and this combination produced our greatest achievement in 1964, a County Senior title.
The 1970s, despite this high point made their own history with the winning of our first under age titles, the County U-16 in 1976 and with our great allies Kilmore, the County Minor in 1979. The frustration of defeat at the last hurdle in the junior championship in ’79, ’80 and ’82 was put behind us with our third county Junior title in 1986. The foundation for a second equally succesful centenary was well and truly laid with the magnificent county title of the U-16s in 1987. Following the wins of ’86 and ’87 the ended in 1989 with our 4th County Junior ‘B’ title.
Since going Intermediate we had made a strong challenge for honours and after losing the County Final in 1990 we made a breakthrough beating Clann Na Gael in 1991 to win the County Intermediate title. Shannon Gaels have held their own at Senior level since with many stirring battles against the best in the county and in 1999 reached the Division 1 league Quarter-Finals. In 1991 the club also won the Division 4 League.
In the new millennium the club were relegated from Senior to Intermediate in 2003. In 2005 the U-21s won the County Div. 3 title for the first time in the clubs history and this was followed by the Junior team in 2005 who won the Division 4 league title. In 2007 the Juniors won the clubs 5th Junior B title beating Clann na Gael after a replay in Knockcroghery. In this new decade the minor club has flourished and have won county titles at U-12; 1998 and 2005, U-14; 1999,2005,2006,2007,2009,2010 and Minor in 2000.
Our contribution to every Roscommon All-Ireland winning team continued with Ciaran Lynch and Ollie Flanagan in the All-Ireland Junior final of 2000. Aisling Creighton was on the Roscommon ladies team that won the All-Ireland junior title of 2001 and the All-Ireland Intermediate title of 2005. Off the field a former Chairman and Treasurer of the club, Tom Mullaney was elected County Secretary in 1994 after a term a County Vice- Chairman.
While football was dominated on the football fields, in the 1980s our hurlers came into their own, winning All-Ireland titles with Leitrim in ’83 and ’84, adding to the All-Ireland football medals that have been won in every grade previously by players from the parish.
Besides winning inter-county honours players like Matt Moran in 1906, Jim Creighton 1929 and 1934, Tom Collins 1947, Des Boyd 1948, JJ Nerney 1953 and the Newton brothers, John and Des in the 1980s, won Railway cup medals and selection along the way.
In handball, Jim Cahill, was our greatest, a Senior Ulster title winner in the 1920s and 1930s.
Off the field the outstanding service officials, like Tim Tansey (RIP) , Ging Duignan Leitrim Co. Board chairman(RIP), Paddy Mulvey and Seamus Sweeney, to the GAA in general, not to the mention the many who have served the club itself like our present chairman Aidan Filan and secretary Padraig Glancy.
In the area of our native culture we have a proud record. Our Scor teams on which Seamus Butler and Patsy Mc Namara have been ever present, have won 40 County titles in every event and preserve the rich inherited tradition. While in athletics Mick Dowd was national Cross Country champion in 1936-38.
The club are presently blessed with young energetic and well trained personnel, coaches, officials, referees which will see ‘Project Shannon Gaels’ flourish into the future.