Syddan GFC History
Gaelic Football has been played in the parish of Syddan since the formation of the G.A.A. in 1884.
Syddan has a rich history of famous teams and famous players who represented club and county with distinction throughout the decades.The club has enjoyed many successes down the years and it is no co-incidence that a golden era for the Meath senior football team arrived at a time when Syddan was a powerful force in the county between the late 1940s and mid 1950s.
In that period the Royals made the big breakthrough on the national stage with a first All-Ireland title win in 1949 and another in 1954. There was also a number of NFL successes in between, with the men of Syddan helping in no small way as Meath became a powerhouse on the All-Ireland stage. A number of Syddan’s star players were household names for their exploits with Meath at the time in what was to be a glorious era for the county. Following its formation the club quickly became part of the fabric of the parish and won its first county title in 1927 when it captured the junior championship. Syddan then moved up to senior ranks and further success followed as it won the Feis Cup in 1932. A new club came into being around 1935/36, mainly a Newtown outfit which drew some players from the Lobinstown end of the parish. In 1940 Syddan reached the Intermediate final for the first time and while they lost, they bounced back quickly and captured the title the following season. A junior team was set up in Lobinstown during World War 2, but around 1945 the two clubs joined to form the present St Mary’s of Syddan and Lobinstown. At that time Syddan enjoyed great success at juvenile level winning county championships in 1939, ’40 and ’46. The unification of the two clubs was the catalyst for the success that followed. After reaching the senior championship final in 1948 (losing to Skryne), they won their first senior title in 1949, the year of Meath’s first All-Ireland success. Further championship titles at senior level followed in 1951, ’52 and ’56. In 1953 the club presented the Keegan Cup to the Meath County Board in honour of the late Tom Keegan who suffered a fatal injury playing for Syddan in 1940. To this day Keegan Cup success is the pinnacle for every club in the county.
Following the unprecedented successes of the 1940s and 1950s there followed a barren spell and the club reverted to intermediate status in the 1960s. It made the step up to senior again in 1970 where it held its own for a number of years. In the early part of that decade Syddan had a good run in underage football, reaching the county finals in 1973 and 1974, losing narrowly to Skryne on each occasion. Young players coming through from these teams saw an upturn in the late 1970s but outright success again eluded them. At senior level Syddan shocked a fancied Skryne in a semi-final to earn a final tilt against an emerging Walterstown. However the North Meath men suffered a heavy defeat to a Walterstown outfit who later went on to enjoy a three-in-a-row success between 1982 and 1984.
In 1971 the club opened their new grounds, Ludlow Park, on land donated by Tommy Ludlow in the 1960s. In the early 1980s a pavilion was built and further refurbishment was completed in the 1990s leaving the facilities one of the finest in the county. The clubhouse was officially opened in 1995 and to mark the occasion Meath played Louth in a senior challenge match with Syddan represented on Sean Boylan’s team by Philip Duff. After a few lean years, the club bounced back in 1982 and won the Junior B championship. It was to be a decade later before Syddan would taste championship success again when they overcame Moynalvey in the Junior C decider of 1992. Two years later Syddan captured the Division 3 league title and in 1998 claimed the B league crown. However 1999 was to be the club’s most memorable since Tommy Farrelly held aloft the Keegan Cup in 1956, when Syddan battled back from a seven point half-time deficit to overcome St Patrick’s Stamullen and win the Intermediate crown and book a return to the senior ranks. Syddan stayed at senior level until 2001 when they were once again relegated back to the intermediate ranks. Having been defeated in the 2000 Feis Cup final by Seneschalstown, Syddan returned again in 2003 to beat Skyrne and become the only intermediate club to ever win the Feis cup. A Junior C championship was won in 2004 beating Ratoath in the final. In 2005 the intermediate team reached another championship final, this time losing out to Duleek after a replay. There was some compensation when they won the Division 3 league title the same year.
As the club enters the 2015 season expectations are high that a return to senior ranks can be achieved in the not-too-distant future. A new batch of young star are filtering through to the club’s adult team and a number have already represented the county at various underage levels.One of those stars is Daire Rowe who was recently honoured with the prestigious Young Footballer of the Year Award for 2014.