Sean Mc Dermotts rose from the ashes of the old Shamrock Club, who were based in the Small Heath area of Birmingham, the area from which it drew it’s first members.
So in 1957 the club was founded by the four original members: Chairman Eddie Brady, Vice Chairman Hughie Reel, Treasurer Jimmy Smith and Mick Healey the first Secretary.
Little did they realise at the time, that they had laid the foundations for what was to become one of the most successful clubs in G.A.A. circles.
The first meeting took place at St. Annes with the aim of choosing the name of the club and also deciding the clubs playing colours.
The outcome of the meeting was to name the club Sean McDermott’s after the well known Dublin team that bore the same name.
The clubs colours were to be now famed green and white and the original membership fee was 50 shillings.
Interestingly the first set of jerseys were ordered from Dublin but import duties at the time made them to expensive, so they came via Belfast instead.
The club began by fielding a team in junior football with a hurling team being formed in the following year and the first title, a junior football league was won in 1958.
Continuing into the 60’s slowly but surely the club was in to one of the up and coming clubs in Warwickshire by efforts of the committee members jimmy smith, Tony Jordan, Mick Hearly, Andy Boland, Jack Mellroy and John Reilly.
The Hard work continued and progression through to senior grade followed and a senior football championship defeat in 1961 failed to dampen the spirit. The tide of immigration continued and the club went from strength to strength with an array of junior titles until the first success at senior level, the 1966 senior football league.
Completing the decade, the club continued its success. However it would have to wait until the next decade to notch up its first senior championship honours in either code despite a league and FTHR Forde cup double in 1969.
The seventies was a dawning of a new age for the club and so began a time when it dominated not only the Warwickshire scene but that of Britain as well. The club was now based in the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath and chairman and chief scout Paddy Reilly led the club into its most successful era.
This period began with the clubs first senior football championship victory in 1970 against a much favoured John Mitchell’s side that had ruled the roost in the 60’s with the league and forde cup thrown in for good measure that year, the success continued with a unprecedented seven senior football championship in a row. This was complemented by the numerous fr forde cups, B&I sevens and but for the 1979 title (lost for late fielding), every league title for the decade would have been captured. With the domestic scene tied up, the senior footballers looked further a field to the club championship of Britain, at their third attempt in 1972 they achieved their goal, taking the trophy out of London for the first time, by beating farmells in the final. The trophy was retained in 1973, without the assistance of the highly respected clubman Paddy Reilly and John and Ted Steede who had returned to Ireland the previous year. In 1975, after regaining the club championship against the Kingdom of London, history was made when Sean McDermott’s became the first club to complete in the Club championship of Ireland. The date was February of the following year, the opponents were Roscommon Gaels and the hard training at Highbury Park was complete. Sadly, it was not be, with a solitary point separating the sides at the final while after the Macs has missed a penalty in the closing minutes.
In addition, there were also some personal achievements of note in 70’s In 1973 Noel McLean and Mick Behan represented Great Brittan against Donegal at Wembley Stadium with the latter being awarded the coveted Footballer of the year in Brittan for 1776. The greatest of all though was that of Ollie Barry. Having returned to his native Cavan, he was honoured with a Carols All Star Award in 1977.
On the hurling front, 1971 saw the Sean’s break the resolve of a great Mitchell’s hurling side capturing their first senior hurling title and then going on to win another five titles in that decade. During this time stylish Larry Moore achieved the 1976 Hurler of the Year award in Brittan.
1980’s the Nearly Years
When looking at the honours list one might conclude that McDermott’s were a spent force in the 1980s however the records do not tell the whole story as this decade could be fairly titled as ‘the nearly years’.
The club at last had its own social base, The Boundary Club, and began with continued success with the 81 football and then the 82 football and hurling titles being captured in the clubs silver anniversary. This was in addition to footballer of the year for Brittan Roache and the third B&I club of the year award in 1981.
Unfortunately, the tide turned as those younger players who had been brought through the underage ranks, with tireless work from Jimmy Smith (RIP) and others, found it difficult to fill the vacuum left by their illustrious forbears of the 70s.
With the expectation and hunger for success being too much for some of these players, the club struggled to maintain the interest of this home-grown talent. Despite this of the ten titles up for grabs, two were captured and another fear were narrowly lost in the finals of 85, 86, 88 and 1989.
It was during these barren years that the leadership and motivation of the current chairman Noel Mclean, held the club on a united front;
A personal highlight for the chairman in that decade was the award from the Irish post, in that together with his son Adrian they were the only father and son to represent the county at every level, a unique achievement in G.A.A HISTORY.
The hurlers can be credited in this era with keeping the game alive in Warwickshire with their only serious challenge being that of the dominance of London, aslas like the 70’s that all important provincial title evaded them, loosing by a point in the centenary year final (1984) to John Desmonds of London.
It was in this era that the foundations for today’s senior panel were laid. Again with the determined efforts of Jimmy Smith (RIP) who brought on board Gerry Cunnane, the club began to thrive at juvenile level.
Numerous titles at underage were secured and it was these teams that often provided the silverware in those barren spells of limited senior success.
Finally, the end of the 1980’s saw the club elect Jimmy Smith to life president in recognition of his endless work and dedication.
The 1990’s back at the top
This decade, is generally accepted as a return to the glory days, with the younger home-grown talent finally moving out of the shadow of that great 70’s era to write history.
The potential for the current football team was denoted as early as 91 with the senior league title being secured. With another league title and B&I title between the breakthroughs was finally made with championship success in 1995 under the guidance of Edmund Meegan and reaching the provincial final loosing by two points to Taras in 1996 we failed to retain the Warwickshire Championship title haven being beat by St Brendan’s. However we then went onto sweep the board for the next six years and are current Warwickshire title holders in all senior code. However are quest for the provincial title is still awaiting haven been beat in finals and semi finals by London teams.
On the hurling side we won the championship up until 1998 our player’s haven got older and new blood coming through however we still do manage to field a team young and old.
Intermediate football is the breeding ground for the senior team we have had little success with this team however we did win the championship final in 1999.
In 1999 Anne Sweeny started up underage this went from strength to strength haven won numerous titles u10’s u12’s and u14’s. The club must stress that the underage development by Bishop Challenor has to be given the highest accolade had it not been for the hard work and sheer determination of Kevin Mc Coy Eddie O’Connor, Anne Sweeny, Peter Kelly and the rest of their helpers. We would not have such an abundance of talented players. The u14 Squad are at this present time awaiting to play in the u14 semi final of Brittan.
On a sadder note the 1990 decade has witnessed the passing of two truly great Sean McDermott’s msn, namely Jimmy Smith (RIP) and Tony Jordan (RIP).
Sean McDermott’s have always endeavoured to assist the less fortunate in the community to date the club has raised over £185,000.
On another note the officers namely Noel Mclean, Anne Sweeny, and Deirdre Reilley were heavily involved on the fundraising committed for the development of Pairc na H’eireann. This year we have acquired our own ground with planning permission for clubhouse and academy. This will be a first class facility with dressing rooms, academy, clubhouse, 150seater lean to start, 1 full size pitch, 1 floodlit 5-a-side pitch, kiddies play area, full coach and car parking. We hope for a grand opening with a full gala day.