Réalt na Mara Cumann Lúthchleas Gael is a Gaelic Athletic Association club from the fishing village of Cromane, eight miles west of Killorglin in County Kerry, Ireland.
The club has been in existence since its reformation in November 1983, having previously been known as Cromane Sarsfields in the 1950s and, prior to this, simply as Cromane in the 1920s and 1930s.
For numerous reasons, chief among them being emigration, the previous clubs ebbed and flowed in existence. In the intervening years, we amalgamated with our neighbours Laune Rangers, with whom we share Killorglin parish. This was before we parted in the mid 1980s to form Réalt na Mara Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, An Cromán.
Before the G.A.A. was founded, and before there were any proper rules, a rough form of cross-country football called ‘caid’ was played in the country area west of Killorglin town between teams from Caragh Lake (Muingaphuca and Scrahan) and Cromane (Lonhart, The Lake, Glosha, and Cromane).
These games were tough affairs with one in particular ending when one of the Cromane players departed with the ball through the shallow waters on the eastern side of Loch Gainimh Bhain (the lake of the white sand).
After the formation of the G.A.A and when spare time from fishing and farming allowed Cromane men played football at local level, lining out against other teams in the parish and against Glenbeigh and surrounding areas.
The Kerry Sentinel of March 20, 1909, reports on a game which took place on St. Patrick’s Day in Killorglin between Cromane Sarsfields and Glenbeigh Rovers which Cromane Sarsfields won by 0-2 to 0-1.
THE ROARING 20'S & 30'S
Throughout the 1920s and 30s Cromane teams took part in all the local competitions.
These were the years of players like (to name a few) John Sugrue N.T. (Jack’s father), Seánie Connor from the Cliff, Mick and Seán Moroney from Glosha, Paddy and Jerry Riordan from the Cross, and Johnnie Foley from Cromane Lower.
There was no proper pitch. Gaelic football in these times was played in the field behind Cromane church, in Stookisland, and down by Cromane strand on the méidhe.
There is not much news from the war years (late 1930s to mid-1940s) but in 1954 there were two clubs in the parish, Killorglin and Cromane.
In 1954 Pat O’Shea played minor for Kerry as a Cromane player and also in this year Cromane won it’s first divisional game in the Mid Kerry league by defeating Beaufort by 0-3 to 0-2.
Players from this era included Michael O’Riordan and Bob McCarthy, from Lios na Gaoithe, and Stephen ‘Betsy’ O’Sullivan, from Cromane Lower.
However, emigration took its toll on both clubs and Cromane and Killorglin amalgamated in 1957. In 1958 the now-renamed Laune Rangers won their first Mid Kerry senior championship assisted by Pat O’Shea, Michael O’Riordan, Seán ‘Danlo’ Teahan, and Mickie Teahan, of Dooks.
THE 80'S: REFORMATION
By the early 1980s, with the upturn in the area’s fortunes, moves were afoot in Cromane to once more go it alone.
Funds were raised and the present field, located in Lios na Gaoithe, was bought. Cromane’s ambition was, understandably, fiercely resisted by some within Laune Rangers. Indeed two unsuccessful applications were made to the Kerry County Board for affiliation.
Cromane was finally affiliated in April 1985, following a compromise brokered by the Munster Council of the G.A.A.
THE 90'S REBIRTH
A lot of hard work took place to turn a boggy rushy field into a level surface fit for play. Wooden goalposts were replaced by steel ones in 1991 and a number of Silver Circles raised the wherewithal to begin work on the dressing rooms in 1992.
The club ran up a deficit in completing the dressing rooms but the arrival of the weekly lotto on the scene saw the start of a turnaround and the debt was all paid off before the club convention in December 1998.
PITCHING IN TOGETHER: REINVESTMENT
During the mid to late 1990s the club has further improved as the playing surface was investing in, including sand slit drainage and sand spreading. It has been transformed into, arguably, one the best fields in Mid Kerry.
New floodlighting has been installed followed by the construction of a covered stand and dug-outs. The club also won funding from the National Lottery to further the development – all funding before then had been raised locally.
HELPING MID KERRY
Cromane men have assisted Mid Kerry teams at all levels as players and mentors – Cromane’s Brian O’Sullivan was man-of-the-match when Mid Kerry won the County Senior Football Championship in 1992. Cieran O’Callaghan was a substitute on the same day.
It was not just on the pitch where we helped Mid Kerry during these years, and this was never more evident than in 1992 when John Joe O’Reilly (one of our current club presidents) was a selector, with the late Michael Healy (secretary) and Dan Carey (assistant treasurer) during Trojan work off the field for the Mid Kerry (and Cromane) cause.
Donnchadh Walsh soon followed in the footsteps of Brian O’Sullivan by being named man-of-the-match in the 2008 County Final when Mid Kerry defeated Kerins O'Rahillys after a replay. Seán O'Sullivan was wing forward for Mid Kerry on the same day. Mid Kerry won back-to-back minor titles in 1997 and 1998 under trainer Frank Walsh.
Frank was also trainer of the Intermediate School Killorglin side that won the Hogan Cup (All-Ireland Colleges) in 1996. They beat St Patrick’s, of Maghera, in the final.
GROWING STRONGER: CROMANE MEN & KERRY
Since 1983 – when the current club was formed – players such as 2015 GAA Football All-Star Donnchadh Walsh, Seán O'Sullivan, Patie Casey (1987 Kerry minor), Seán Walsh, and Deavan O'Flaherty have worn the green and gold of Kerry.
Donnchadh Walsh played Kerry minor for two years (2001/02) as well as under-21 and won three All-Ireland medals (2007, 2009, and 2014)as a Kerry senior player. In 2015 Donnchadh was named as left-half forward on the GAA Football All-Stars team.
Seán O'Sullivan played Kerry minor in 1998 and then had three years as an under-21, losing the 1999 All-Ireland Under-21 Football final against Westmeath. Seán quickly progressed to the Kerry senior football team and played between 2002 and 2009 during which time he won four All-Irelands himself (2004, 2006, 2007, and 2009).
Seán Walsh, a brother of Donnchadh's, was a member of the Kerry under-21 football panel in 2010, while Deavan O'Flaherty was a member of the Kerry minor football panel in 2012.
On March 2, 2003, both Donnchadh Walsh and Seán O'Sullivan lined out in the half-forward line for the Kerry senior football team in their National League win (2-11 to 0-14) over Dublin in Killarney.
In November 2015 Donnchadh Walsh was the only Kerry player to be selected to play Australia in a one-off International Rules game in Croke Park.
In May 2019, Kieran O'Sullivan became the latest Cromane club man to play Kerry minor football when he lined out against Cork in Páirc Uí Rinn, Cork city. Kieran continued to line out at corner-back in each of the Kerry minors' 2019 championship matches. Their season ended with a narrow 0-14 to 0-13 All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Galway in Croke Park.”
Cromane won the County Novice B Championship final in 1994 (beating Dromid Pearses in the final) and again in 1998 (this time beating Tuosist). In 1999 Cromane reached the semi-final of the County Novice A Championship (losing to Finuge) and won their first trophy in Mid Kerry by taking the O’Sullivan Cup while the B team reached the final of the Cahill Cup. Three more Mid Kerry O'Sullivan Cup victories followed in 2002, 2003 and 2006.
Cromane were victorious in the 2007 County Novice A Championship, beating Ballydonoghue in the final in Austin Stack Park, and went on to represent Kerry in the Munster Junior B Championship. They were victorious in March 2008 when they beat the Cork representatives, St. Oliver Plunketts, after a hard-fought battle in Knockaderry.
We earned the right to represent Kerry in Munster fare for a second time when we beat Moyvane (1-12 to 0-12) in the final in October 2017. Our captain for 2017 was Paul Patrick O’Sullivan, Lonhart.
In February 2018 we qualified for the Munster Junior B final when we beat Cashel King Cormacs by 2-14 to 4-3. In the final, we lost out to Limerick’s Ballybrown.
COISTE NA NÓG TEAMS
On the field of play, the club has gone from humble beginnings to now field teams from U-6 to senior level. In 2017 we fielded two under-12 teams and two senior teams with our under-14s to under-21s amalgamated with Glenbeigh-Glencar.
One of the club’s first major underage county titles arrived in 1993 when we claimed a county league title, the bulk of this team went on to claim titles at all age-groups culminating in a Minor County League title win against Currow in 2000.
In 1999 Cromane under-21s contested the final of the inaugural Mid Kerry U-21 Championship. A successful amalgamation with Listry at underage level saw Cromane contest a number of County Finals at different levels. In 2003 Cromane/Listry won the U-15 Division 3 County Final and the 2006 U-16 Division 4 County League.
In 2013 the Cromane minors, competing on their own, beat Glenbeigh-Glencar to claim the Division 7 County League title after a replay.
In 2017 an amalgamation of Cromane and Glenbeigh-Glencar won the Minor County League title, also after a replay, beating St Mary’s/Renard in the final in August.
In 2016 the same amalgamation (in its first year) won the Mid Kerry Under-14 B title.
TEAMS & COLOURS
Cromane play in maroon jerseys, white shorts, and maroon socks.
DID YOU KNOW?
The club's name is derived from our village's church, also called Réalt na Mara (Star of the Sea). The local national school also carries the same name, Scoil Réalt na Mara.