St. Michael’s GAC Lissan is a rural club situated in South Derry. It lies 3 miles north of Cookstown and 3 miles west of Moneymore. Lissan Parish itself is located in both counties Derry and Tyrone. The Club was first formed as ‘Ruairi Óg’s’ in 1910, and officially became St. Michael’s in 1962 when it was affiliated to the South Derry Board.
The Club aims to provide all people of the Parish with a social and sporting outlet in keeping with the ideals of the GAA. The Club currently fields football teams at Senior and Underage level, and also has a strong representation in the Rounders and Handball codes. Lissan senior footballers won the Club’s first Derry Junior Football Championship in 1998, with further titles following in 2007 and 2008.
During the period 1904-1907 when St Michael’s Catholic Church was being built, some of the Dublin and Newry workmen spread the news about a new, exciting and skilful game called Gaelic Football that was being developed throughout Ireland. Gradually the younger men of Lissan became progressively interested and by 1910 Lissan’s first Gaelic Football Club, ‘Ruairi Ógs’, was formed. Its Chairman was John Corr. Lissan Ruairi Ógs acquitted themselves admirably from their foundation until the early 1920s. During this time their home matches were played on a pitch known as ‘the Waterside’ in Tullynure.
During the late 1940s and 1950s football was played on an organised though somewhat irregular basis within the parish. Several challenge matches between the ‘Derry’ and ‘Tyrone’ parts of the parish were arranged and played at different venues in Ballynagilly and Tullynure. However it was during 1957, and in very unusual circumstances, that the seeds of the present reformed St Michael’s Club in Lissan were sown. With the co-operation of long-time Lissan resident Mr Patrick Larkin PT – a Derry County and District Board official for many years – Lissan entered the South Derry Schoolboys League in 1958. The first match was against Glen on a pitch kindly provided by the late John Conlon of Tullynure. Lissan had a team – albeit a schoolboy one – at last!
In 1962 St. Michael’s Lissan became affiliated to the South Derry Board. The first Chairman in 1962 was Joseph O’Hagan, Bernard McGready was the Secretary and Paul O’Hagan the Treasurer. In 1977 the Club reached a new milestone in its history when they purchased seven and a half acres of ground from the Parish of Lissan and laid a new playing field.
In 1986 the Club built a new pavilion consisting of two changing rooms, a kitchen and a meeting room. All this was paid for by fund raising carried out on a voluntary basis by Club members and friends, and also included generous sponsorship from the corporate and business sector. On the 12th August 1990, the Official Opening of the new Pavilion was conducted by Peter Quinn (President Elect of the GAA).
Lissan have reached Junior Championship finals in 1987 (v Dungiven Thirds), 1990 (v Foreglen), 1997 (v Coleraine), 1998 (v Sean Dolans), 2006 (v Drum), 2007 (v Drum) and 2008 (v Glack). The team were successful in bringing their first title to Lissan in 1998 when they defeated Sean Dolans by 0-14 to 0-9, and won further JFC crowns in 2007 and 2008.