John McBride's GFC

Club History

How it all began:

As a rule, the month of October brings thoughts of Halloween and ‘trick or treat’. However, in 1956, Chicago’s treat was the formation of a new Gaelic Football Club. The trick was choosing a name that would do justice to a group of spirited young men. (Local McBride’s historians have told it was like pulling a rabbit out of a hat!) As they went about conducting the order of business they elected the first Board Officers: 

Ed Spellman - Honorary President                         

John McHugh - Chairman                         

Eamon O’Malley - Secretary                         

Chris Montgomery - Recording Secretary                        

Frank O’Kane - Treasurer, Dungiven, Co. Derry

Others present at the first meeting were: 

Paul Heneghan                         

John Whitney                         

Mickey Heraty, Drummin, Westport, Co. Mayo                   

Mike O’Brien                             

Brendan Moran                      

Neil Gallagher, Co. Donegal                         

Pat Broderick, Co. Galway                         

John Mulcrone,  Newport, Co. Mayo                           

Pat Heneghan                         

Joe Kilroy, Newport, Co. Mayo 

Cleveland had the honor of hosting McBride’s first game on May 4, 1957.  The referee was Owen Lowry. Many stories of that game have been told over the years but everyone agrees on the score, McBride’s 1 - 04 to St. Pat’s 0 - 07.  

In November of 1961, McBride’s chartered with the State of Illinois; its purpose being to preserve and promote interest and participation of Gaelic Football and Irish culture in general. Its first Board of Directors were:                         

John O’Rourke, Co. Offaly                         

Dennis Harrington, Co. Cork                     

Michael Clark, Co. Cavan

Minor Board:

In 1980, the North American Board applied pressure to all Senior Clubs to promote minor football within their own club. Mike and Judy Maloney were responsible for the formation of the U19 and U15 teams. After months of many phone calls and training sessions, McBride’s U19 team won the 1980 Chicago Championship.

The successful panel under the watchful eyes of Mike & Judy Maloney, Hughie Gilgunn, Frank O’Grady and Dan O’Leary were:

Jimmy Breslin 

Mike Breslin 

Timmy Breslin, RIP 

Joe Daly  

Tom Daly 

Sean Derrig, Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo 

Martin Durcan, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo  

Brendan Feeney, RIP 

Patrick Feeney 

Colm Flaherty  

Mike Flaherty 

Sean Freeman 

Tommy Gilgunn 

Matt Gilgunn 

Mike Haas 

Billy Heneghan, Swinford, Co, Mayo 

James Maloney 

Jim Miller 

Pat Miller 

Michael Mulhern 

Jimmy Mullahy 

Pat O’Hagan

Apologies for any errors or omissions

McBride's Ladies...the First Ladies Team in the USA!

It all started in the basement of McNeill’s. The year was 1982. There they were - Theresa O’Looney, Mike Feeney, Tom O’Neill and Pat Gibbons. Then and there it happened. Theresa suggested it. The next night it was announced; McBride’s finally started a women’s team. Getting a trainer was literally, ‘a joke’. When asked to coach, Sean Derrig agreed, thinking it was a joke. But when the time came for practices to start, Sean kept his word. Out he came to Oriole Park every Monday and Wednesday night. Aided by Mike Heneghan, P.J. Maleny and Padraig King, Sean gradually whipped us into shape(?). Who could forget those practices??? Remember the leg exercises – the one where you had to hold to the count of ten? “Do them right, or ye’ll do them again!” Or how about those endless laps – Foley vowed never to smoke another cigarette again. And those suicides sure lived up to their names – Marcella thought Sean would never stop blowin’ his whistle! (Who gave him that damn whistle anyway?) 

For three months, the girls trained hard and finally learned how to play Gaelic Football (at least sometimes it looked that way). Torture paid off when they played their first friendly game against the Gaelic Gals, founded by Billy Cooke, Olive Godvic and Donie Lynch. McBride’s were defeated in their second friendly game by the South Side’s Erin’s Rovers, founded by Mossy Scanlon, John Scanlon, Jerry Maguire and Joe Duffy. 

Then things got serious and the Leagues started. In August, John McBride’s lost the final to the Erin’s Rovers. They played a fine game having held them scoreless in the second half. O’Looney thought the game was played the way a game is supposed to be, and “hopes there will be more teams next year”. When team captain Rita Heneghan was asked about the team’s performance, she just smiled! Sean Derrig said, “It was s-a-a-d!” While on a happier note, Maggie Folan thought “we were a great bunch of women and we had a fine coach.” Optimistic Mary Foley knows: “WE’LL BE BACK NEXT YEAR”