St Gabriels Hurling club has a chequered history, from humble beginnings in October 1960 to being one of the premier hurling clubs in London today. We are a club with a proud tradition and have been committed to promoting the game of hurling and providing a home from home for the many hurling gaels who arrived in London over the years.
The following account of the club history was written by one of the club founders and first club secretary, the late P.J. Noone (RIP).
To write about the foundation of St Gabriels hurling club I first have to describe the house where the idea was born and discussed – 64 St. Margarets Road, Kensal Green. It was a house of hurlers, musicians and visitors every night, just like a home from home. This house was owned by Martin Treacy and his wife Bridie. They were both very keen on music and hurling and were from Cappatagle, Co. Galway. There were six lodgers in full board for £2.10s.0.d per week. Pete Crehan R.I.P from Cappatagle, Tom Malone R.I.P from Kilconnell, Sean Malone R.I.P (Toms brother), Raymond Roland R.I.P from Craugwell, Michael Greally from Oranmore Maree and myself P.J. Noone from Cappatagle. It was here sitting by the fire on a winters night that we first talked about forming our own hurling club.
The four people who were responsible for its foundations were Packie Grealish (Carnmore), Marty Treacy (Cappatagle), Paddy Malone (Kilconnell) and myself P.J. Noone (Cappatagle) – all Galway men! There were others who were not so sure but once it got off the ground they were 100% behind us. I was very keen on the idea and before the week was gone I had called to see the Co. Secretary, Jerry Daly and he assured me there should be no problem. We set about talking to our teammates with whom we had played with the previous year with Brother Pearse Club. This was all done very discreetly and within a couple of weeks, we knew we had the support of twelve players. Then we made another trip to Co. Secretary Marty Treacy and myself this time. We had to get club transfers for each player who would be joining the new club. Things were now beginning to fall into place and someone asked me what we would call this club. I proposed to call it St Gabriels and Paddy Malone said he would be in favour of that name….. it was not a surprising choice as both of us had played with St Gabriels, Kilconnell and it was with St Gabriels Kilconnell that I won my first Minor Championship Medal in 1953.
We now decided to call a meeting so we booked a room in the Windsor Castle Pub on the Harrow Road for Thursday night, 11th October 1960. It was decided that this meeting would be accepted as a General Meeting for the election of Officers for our new St Gabriels Hurling Club. We had an attendance of fifteen people, ten of whom would later wear the Gabriels colours for the first time and five who were staunch followers for many years.
The following officers were elected that day in 1960.
ST GABRIELS FIRST EVER COMMITTEE (All from Galway !!)
President – Pakie Grealish
Chairman – Pete Crehan
Secretary – PJ Noone
Treasurer – Dick Power
Co.Board Delegates – Packie Grealish and Padriac Shiels
It was proposed by Mick Greally, and seconded by Jack Byrnes that we subscribe £1 each to buy as set of jerseys and socks. The treasurer collected £15 that night. Charlie Graham proposed that the club colours would be blue with a gold sash and as Charlie was the only Tipperary man, his proposal was carried. This concluded our first General Meeting and the beginning of a lot of hard work. Within two weeks we had twenty-four paid up members whom I will list here: P. Grealish (Carnmore) P. Crehan (Aughrim) P. Fitzgerald (Foghenagh) P.J Noone (Cappatagle) Dick Power (Tynagh) Padraig Shiels (Kiltormer) Mick Carr (Maree) Mick Freally (Maree) Padraig Nevin (Cappatagle) Christy Nevin (Cappatagle) Tom Carr (Killimor) Padraig Garvey (Cappatagle) Tony Monaghan (Killimor) Seamus Nevin (Cappatagle) P.J. Ford (Skehana) Charlie Clarke (Cappatagle) Michael Crehan (Aughrim) John Crehan (Aughrim) Marty Treacy (Cappatagle) Jack Byrnes (Kilrickle) Joe Leahy (Loughrea) All from Co. Galway and: Paddy Morrisey (Kildare) Charlie Graham (Tipperary) Bill Gorman -(Limerick)
Obviously these days we have players from all over Ireland but back when we started Galway men were the backbone of the club. As I was now Secretary of St Gabriels I had to get all transfers signed and ready for the first Co. Board Meeting. Another trip to the Co. Board Secretary with transfers signed, name of club, St Gabriels and address of Secretary, 64 St Margarets Road, Kensal Green, London NW10. Marty Treacy accompanied me on this visit. The Co. Board secretary told us he would be notifying us shortly of the first county board meeting for 1961. He also informed us that there was a very good sports shop in Fleet Street and to try it for our new set of Jerseys and socks. Marty Treacy and his wife Bridie went to Fleet Street to a shop called Jack Hobbs where they pick up the socks and jerseys which would be ready for collection one week later. It was not possible to get blue jerseys with a sash so we decided to buy the gold material and have it stitched on. One week later, Charlie Graham and myself had to have a day off work to collect our new kits….. We took with us a blue suitcase and that case was used for quite a few years to carry the gear to and from matches. Now one of our members, Joe Leahy from Loughrea, informed us that his wife, Kathleen, would be only too glad to put on the sashes as she was a dressmaker….. This she did free of charge.
Bridie Treacy bought the material in Harlesden. The cost of the jerseys was 17s/6d and the socks cost half a crown (2s/6d). Next thing I was notified by the county secretary that a county board meeting had been arrange to be held in the Blarney, Tottenham Court Road. This was the meeting that all our officers dreaded because I had ten transfers, all players leaving Brother Pearse Club. As I was secretary the job fell to me to attend the meeting. P.J. Forde travelled with me – he was not a member of Brother Pearse.
I remember being very nervous when the secretary announced that there was a new hurling team being affiliated in NW10 called St Gabriels. The secretary mentioned that ten players were transferring from Brother Pearse and asked their delegate, Pakie Kiely (Chairman), if he had any objection. He then asked the secretary if he would read out the ten names and it read as follows: Patrick Grealish, Peter Crehan, Richard Power, Peter Fitzgerald, Charlie Graham, William Gorman, Michael Greally, Patrick Shiels, Tom Malone and Patrick Joseph Noone. And so St Gabriels Hurling Club was born, the first year being a very successful year with the team winning the Junior County Championship in 1961, their very first year of existence.
St Gabriel’s Hurling club are one of the premier hurling clubs in London today. The club has contested 33 London Senior Hurling Finals since we first lined out in the London senior championship of 1965 and have lifted the senior championship on no less than 18 occasions, most recently in 2022. We are a club with a proud GAA heritage and tradition. We are committed to promoting our Irish culture and the game of hurling. It is fair to say that the enduring bonds of friendship, made on and off the field are a fitting tribute to the ethos shared by the founders of the club all those years ago.