A big weekend is planned for the August Bank Holiday in the Naomh Brid club, who are celebrating 40 years in existence this year.
At a meeting on 19th January, 1976, the club, then known as Ballintra, came into existence and entered Division 2B of the League, the equivalent of Division 4 at present.
While there had been a club called Ballintra in existence in the 1930s, taking part in the Donegal Senior Championship of 1934, the origins of the present club, now named Naomh Brid, came about due to a challenge game at a Sports Day in Ballintra in 1975. As the teams returned to the old Community Centre, where they had togged out, a remark was made by one Sean Griffin, Donegal Town, that “there was the makings of a junior team there.”
And so it transpired that a meeting was called for January of 1976 with an attendance of 20 and a new club was born.
They had a rough enough passage at the start, finding the going tough. Their opening game was away to Dunkineely and there were teams from Killybegs, Kilcar and St. Naul’s in the division. Their first win was against Pettigo. Even though results were not favourable, they persisted. There was a slight wobble in 1979, but there were strong enough people involved and since then the club has gone from strength to strength.
In the early years securing a home base was always difficult and there were four pitches - starting in Ballintra; then Bridgetown, and two grounds close to each other at Trummon, before opening their present grounds in 1992, when then Munster champions, Clare played Donegal in a challenge game.
Over the years there have been notable successes, including two Junior Championships, Intermediate Championship and an Ulster Junior Championship final appearance in 2006.
Their first final appearance at adult level was the 1983 Shield final.
The club competed at senior level in 1988 after winning the 1987 Intermediate Championship and pitted their wits against the likes of Naomh Columba, Kilcar, Killlybegs and Aodh Ruadh. One of the memorable wins was in a league contest at Trummon against Aodh Ruadh before losing the away game in Fr. Tierney Park to a Sylvester Maguire sideline free which was heading for the stands before a gale force wind took over and directed between the posts.
At underage an U-12B title was won in 1984 with a division U-10 championship in 1986 a massive achievement.
There have been other off field achievements including Cultural Awards and a Scór title for Margaret Timoney and a McNamee Award for a club publication in 1988.
Off the field also, work continues on facilities with the main pitch being drained and a complete new playing surface being laid which will be opened in July of next year. It is phase four of the development with a new stand and dressing rooms opened in 1997 and a training pitch in 2012.
The celebrations planned for the August weekend include:
Friday, 29th July: Junior Ulster Final team of 2006 reunion in Salmon Inn, 9.30.
Saturday, 30th July: Mass in St. Bridget’s Church, Ballintra, for deceased members and supporters 7.30.
Presentation function in Country Inn (William Walls was first chairman). Presentations to first committee and first team, 8.30.
A special anniversary booklet, which has been produced to mark the 40th anniversary, will be launched on the night. Cost 5 euro includes supper.
Sunday, 31st July: Reunion of 1986 League and Championship winning team in 7 Arches, Laghey, 8.30 p.m.