White’s Cross GAA Club was formed in 1957 with Fr. Bernard as President. Denis O’ Connell was the first chairperson, with Declan Burke and Danjoe Kelleher acting as secretary and treasurer respectively. The club won its first silver-ware in 1964 when they were crowned East Cork Junior Hurling League Champions.
White’s Cross made much progress during the 1980’s. In 1981 the Seandun Cup was won and this was followed up one year later when the first championship title was brought to the club – an East Cork Junior Hurling Championship. Up to this time the club was using lands kindly made available to them at Ballinoe and Piercetown to train and play their games. However White’s Cross purchased their own grounds at Ballinvriskig in 1983, with the money raised by means of a monthly draw over an eighteen month period. The present club dressing-rooms were built in 1988 – who still recalls togging out in the old galvanise-sheeting building! This was followed up in 1997 when an extensive drainage and levelling of these grounds was undertaken.
The centenary year of the GAA, 1984, brought success at under-age when an East Cork Under 12 Football Championship was captured. A decision to enter the City Division, for more regular games, did not deter this team who continued to bring silver-ware to the club the following years in Under 13 and Under 14 competition. One member of that particular team, Conor McGauran went onto play minor football for Galway for two seasons, when his family moved to live in Salthill.
An amalgamation with Whitechurch at minor level in 1988 brought instant success with the team winning the City Division Minor Football Championship. This was followed up with similar successes in 1990 and 1992. The clubs also amalgamated at Under 16 in 1990 and won a further Football Championship at that grade that year.
The early 1990’s were also particularly historic at Junior level when the team progressed from a struggling Junior C outfit to a team which captured A grade silver-ware in both hurling and football. Promotion to Junior B grade in 1991 was followed with instant championship victories in both codes and the hurling team contested a County Final against present senior outfit, Castleyons. This roller-coaster ride continued through 1992 when the Junior A Hurling MacCurtain Cup was captured and the Junior B football league (the team played A Grade Championship that year), and in 1994 the footballers won the Junior A Football league.
There then followed a number of lean years, when a Craobh Rua Cup (1998) and a B Hurling League title (1999) were all there was to celebrate. That was until 2001 and the landmark decision to amalgamate at all levels was taken. A second Junior A Football League crown was captured in this first season. This was followed up with Minor and Under 16 Football Championship successes in 2002.
The year 2002 will also be remembered for less happy reasons and none more so than the death of our Club President, Joe O Callaghan. Joe gave over forty years of sterling service to the Club, and was involved in every capacity; varying from treasurer to grounds-person, from chief fund-raiser to selector. Ní bheidh a leithéid ann arís
At the beginning of 2001, and as a consequence of specially convened Extraordinary General Meetings in both Clubs, White’s Cross amalgamated with Whitechurch at all age-levels, right up to and including junior. White’s Cross continued as a Football Club, while Whitechurch took responsibility for hurling. Given that most of the players involved would have played together previously at under 16 and minor the transition period was more seamless than might have been anticipated – in fact there was immediate success with a Junior A Football League crown in 2001.
2006 was a historic year for White’s Cross as they won all three competitions in the City Division at Junior A level – league, cup and championship. After a 49 year wait, and the heartache of a final defeat at the hands of Na Piarsaigh in 2005, White’s Cross finally landed the JAFC. They beat Bishopstown, Douglas, Na Piarsaigh on route to the final and St Vincents in the final itself. Also the minors won their Championship, and the Junior B team were unlucky to lose in their Championship Final.
2008 saw White’s Cross again win the Junior A championship and they competed in Under 21 and Minor Championship Finals. 2009 saw White’s Cross seal back-to-back titles in the city division Junior A football championship and in 2010 they made it three-in-a-row, and four in five years. The experience of previous years stood in the team’s favour in the county championship, and they had good wins over Gabriel Rangers and Mitchelstown, before qualifying to play Cloyne in the final. The East Cork side were no strangers to our lads, as they had beaten us in the quarter final in 2008 before we gained revenge for that loss by defeating them in 2009, only to lose out to eventual winners Glanworth in the semi-final. In the 2010 County Final our lads led for the very most of the game only to be pipped at the finish by a single point, by a Cloyne side who used all their experience and craft to shatter our dreams.
At the end of the 2011 season, Whitechurch GAA abruptly put an end to the amalgamation, and all of a sudden we found ourselves ‘on our own’ again. Despite this, we continued to field two junior football teams and for the first time in over 10 years, a junior hurling side, that played in the A grade. Moreover the Junior A footballers managed to continue to win silver-ware and a defeat of Delanys in the Junior A MacSwiney Cup final gave the Club a unique 10-in-a-row of victories in this historic competition. Given that this is a straight knock out competition , the Club had remained unbeaten in this contest since 2003 – a run of well over 30 games! Indeed it is interesting to note that in both the semi-final and final of 2003, both games went to extra-time – before we emerged victorious. Little did we know then the history that was in the making…!