Located in the townland of Baile Bocht, between Glengormley and Mallusk, Naomh Éanna is the largest GAA club in County Antrim. A membership steadied by a core of Glengormley Gaels from its infancy through darker days and swollen by the expanse of housing from North Belfast, the club has a membership of 1200, 700 of whom are Juvenile Members.
The site has expanded rapidly since moving to new land in 1998. The club shares grounds with Naíscoil and Gaelscoil Éanna and, after developing 2 full size pitches along with a Juvenile pitch, opened Halla Éanna in conjunction with local community group Croí Éanna in 2020. The facility hosts vital community facilities including office & exhibition space, 4 mixed used classrooms, a 4g indoor hall and the largest Sports Wall in Ireland.
The Club runs in the GAA’s One Model and offers Gaelic Football, Camogie, Hurling and Handball from Nursery right through to Senior for both boys and girls.
Founded in 1956 by local gaels, Tony Colaluca, Christy Mannion, Paddy Laverty, Sean Hayes, Brendan and Seamus Boylan amongst others, Naomh Éanna have grown from a small rural club to the biggest GAA club in North Belfast which is the social and cultural epicentre of the local community, often in the face of violent adversity.
In the late 1950’s, Henry Campbell who owned land on the Hightown Road offered one of his fields as a pitch to play on. Subsequently the club moved to another of Campbell’s fields, which was bought for £5000 in 1972. In the same year the club won its first major trophy when they won the Junior Championship. The teams in the 70’s were back-boned by the many families in the club to mention a few, the Burns, Farrells, Hamills, Duffys, Lemons and the O’Connors.
The club continued to develop despite the many attacks on the club during the troubles, the club premises being destroyed and badly damaged on numerous occasions. A housing development opportunity in the 1990s allowed the club to purchase the site of the new pitch and clubrooms after negotiation with a developer and with gant aid. The President of the G.A.A., Seosamh Mac Donncha officially opened the new pitch, named after founding member Paddy Laverty, and clubrooms on the 4th May 1998.
2004 saw the opening of Naiscoil Eanna on the site following a lengthy advocacy effort by local Gaels. This was quickly followed by Gaelscoil Eanna as the school community expanded rapidly. In 2012 the club added a second full size pitch named in honour of Gerry Devlin, as well as a juvenile pitch – which was later upgraded with full LED floodlighting.
One cannot discuss the history of Naomh Éanna without paying tribute to those members who have lost their lives during our troubled times. Indeed such is the tragedy that Naomh Éanna has endured, Kevin Kimmage of the Irish Independent remarked once that Naomh Éanna was the most attacked sports club in Ireland. Author Des Fahy also dedicated a chapter in his book, ‘How the GAA survived the Troubles’ to Naomh Éanna. Sean Fox our serving club President, Colin Lundy, Liam Canning, Gerry Devlin (the then senior footballer manager) and, most recently, Gerard Lawlor were all murdered during the conflict in Ireland.
Ar dheis an Athar go raibh a n-anamadha.
Ní dhéanfaidh Gaedhil dearmad oraibh go bráth na breithe
Ná bíodh brón orainn,
Ach bíodh misneach inár gcroíthe
Agus bíodh neart inár gcuisle,
Óir cuimhnígí nach mbíonn aon bhás ann
Nach mbíonn aiséirí ina dhiaidh,
Agus gurab ar an uaigh seo
Agus ar na huaigheanna atá inár dtimpeall
Éireoidh saoirse Ghaedheal
The Gael will never forget you, until the end of time.