From our modest beginnings in 1928 the club in its early years suffered some

lean times and several setbacks and if it wasn’t for the outstanding tenacity

of a small band of men headed by Bro. Robert the club might indeed have

folded. We owe so much to those men who laboured so hard in the early

days with precious little in the way of reward.


St. Marys contested their first senior chip final in 1937 but were beaten by

Wolfe tones. The following year they were back in the final again but were

beaten on a replay by then Louth kingpins Y Ireland’s. We reached the final

again in 1942 and the title was actually won on the field only to be lost in the

boardroom to an objection by opponents Gaels


However 1945 proved a milestone in the history of the club for that year an

amalgamation was formed with St. Dominick’s a club who at that time were

based in the north end of Ardee. The agreement for the amalgamation

basically was that the name St. Mary’s would be retained but the team would

play in the blue and white of the Dominick’s. The Mary’s original colours were

red and white hence the colour of our change strip to this day. This

amalgamation marked the beginning of the great years and this new St.

Marys would soon developed into one of the most powerful units of the

association in Louth. For the following year 1946 St. Marys won the first of

ten senior cships beating y.Ireland’s by three points. This heralded in the

greatest era for the club for between 1946 and 1960 St. Mary’s won six senior

cships seven cardinal o Donnell cups and three old Gaels cups. It was no

coincidence that this also coincided with Louth’s best years as during this

period Louth won four Leinster senior cships and if course brought home the

Sam Maguire in that never to be forgotten year of 1957.st.Marys contributing

six players to the squad.


Also in 1945 just as the Mary’s were on the rise due to bad drainage they had

to sell their pitch Ferdia park which was located on the eastern end of old

Dawson’s demesne. Money was very scarce but due to facilities afforded

them by the ulster bank a site on the Dundalk road was purchased from Mr.

jas roe for £750. However soon afterwards a ten acre site on the Drogheda Road

was put on the market by Mrs. Elizabeth Casey, Mr. roe graciously

released the club from the former sale and Mrs. Caseys land was purchased

for the grand sum of £1000 with a further £160 going to the land commission.

This of course is the site of our beautiful Pairc Mhuire today. Back in this time

of extreme recession in Ireland with limited opportunity for fund raising this

was a huge financial commitment by the club, many so called experts at the

time thought the Mary’s were completely bonkers and the committee en

masse should be committed to the newly opened St. Brigids mental hospital on

the Kells Rd. You might ask indeed how the Mary’s paid off the debt. Well they

took a chance and they brought the carnival to town and after some years of

successful carnivals, marquee dances and seven side tournaments the debt

was reduced to manageable proportions and eventually paid off


Around this time a famous but true story is told of a Sunday back in 1948.The

then county Board sec. Paddy Duffy arrived in Ardee to tell the Mary’s that

for one reason or another Louth were unable to field a team against Kildare

in a tournament final. Mr. Duffy left a set of Louth jerseys and departed with

the comment that we would give a good account of ourselves. He was right

as the Mary’s went down to Athy that Sunday and beat a strong Kildare team

in a great match. Highlight of the story was, that after hearing that the Louth

team that had just beaten them were made up entirely from Ardee St. Mary’s

at the after match meal the reaction of the entire Kildare team was to rise to

a man and give a standing ovation to the team that had just beaten them.

Sportsmanship of the highest order, chivalry was alive and well in those days.


After our senior cships success in 1960 we had a few lean years, but backed

by our four in a row minor winning teams 1964-1967 we reached the senior

final again in 1968 and beat St. fechins by a point in Drogheda. We reached

the final again in 1970 and 1971 losing out to Newtown blues and Cooley

Kickhams respectively. The following year 1972 the Mary’s came back very

determined not to lose three finals in a row and before a record crowd of

over six thousand in Dowdallshill beat Cooley by three points to avenge the

defeat of the previous year. We made it back to the final in 1975 a year that

saw the tragic death of player paddy rice, this I think made us more

determined than ever and in a pulsating replayed final in Drogheda beat

Cooley by six points in an eighth goal thriller. Our golden jubilee year 1978

saw us reach the final of all three senior competitions, however losing the

championship final to Cooley by a point only winning the ACC cup, final of

which wasn’t played until early 1979.


Again there followed some lean times and the unthinkable happened in 1983

when we were relegated to intermediate ranks. We had some consolation

that year winning the ACC cup. However we returned to senior in 1987 and

reached the cships final in 1989.but there was no repeat of 75 as Cooley beat

us in Drogheda. We were back in the final again in 93 but suffered defeat to a

strong clan’s team. Highlight of the early 90s was a resounding victory over

then senior Champions Stabannon in cardinal o Donnell final 1991.however

our young players were gaining experience all the time and it all came right in

1995 when beating St. Patrick’s in Dromiskin to land our first Joe ward in 20

years. We were back again in the final in 1997 only losing out to Stabannon in

a replay.


It would be six years before we reached the final again in 2003 having won

the o Donnell cup the previous year, we were quietly confident of beating

our opponents st. Pats, and as the game entered its final stage we seemed to

be in control with one hand on the cup only for it to be taken away by a last

gasp equaliser and we were beaten in replay the following sat. night. our

most recent senior cships final in 2016 is well documented and again we lost

a final which seemed to be ours for the taking. We had some consolation that

year by winning the ACC cup, our first senior trophy in 14 years.


Our beautiful Pairc Mhuire continues to look resplendent and it is a tribute to

our committees over the years for their work in enhancing facilities there,

improvements which indeed are ongoing. It is with great pleasure when

visiting Pairc Mhuire I always feel a surge of pride to see the huge amounts of

people who use our facilities, from our academy youngsters right up to our

seniors of course girls and ladies as well not to mention people who use our

facilities on a recreational and social basis, it brings home to you the huge

part St. Mary’s plays in the life of our community.


When charting the history of St. Mary’s our story would not be complete

without a mention of our old clubrooms in bridge St. now but a fond and

distant memory. One cannot underestimate how important a function these

premises played in lives of St. Mary’s players committees, members and

supporters in years gone by particularly in forties, fifties and sixties. This was

the meeting place; see you tonight in the club for a game of snooker, rings

table tennis or just to watch television, In fact apart from wright’s electrical

shop-front window the Mary’s club was the first place I ever watched

television. Special mention to Mr. Eddie mc Kenna long gone to his eternal

reward who actually willed the property to his beloved St. Mary’s.