Club HistoryManulla Football Club was formed on May 3rd, 1976, with the aim to promote, foster and develop the game of association football in a small rural area in Central Mayo. The club began with one Junior team in Division III, which at the end of the season gained promotion to Division II and a Youths’ team which reached the final of the Quigley Cup.
In those early years, the trophy sideboard remained bare until 1981 when the Division I Cup rested on it, and the following year, the Reserve Cup took its place.
During the early years, all the football was played in Ralph’s field at the back of McDonnell’s Garage. After some years there, the Manulla bandwagon moved on to Tom Clarke’s field at the back of Tom’s Tavern. The major breakthrough for the club arrived in 1987/88 with the honour of being crowned Premier Division Champions for the first time, making Manulla the first rural club to achieve this distinction. The season also saw the club reach the Connaught Junior Cup final.
In 1985, the club managed to purchase ten acres, one rood and fourteen perches of land at Carramore from the late Johnny McEllin. Much work and money however was needed to transform this patch into a playing field, and during this period, the club’s playing facilities shifted to Keelogues, with the odd match in Balla. Despite all the movement however, Manulla was the only club in Mayo fielding three junior teams at this time.
The club achieved its greatest success off the field with the official opening of the club house, two playing pitches and spacious car park on Monday, August 3rd, 1992 by the then Republic of Ireland captain, Mick McCarthy.
Achievements on the playing field were also continuing to mount in the early nineties, with continued success at underage level. In 1994, the under-18 squad brought the Quigley Cup and League Championship titles home for the first time. In 1995, the club achieved the distinction of becoming the first-ever club in the Mayo League to capture the treble in the same season, that is: Premier Division, Tuohy Cup and the Mayo F.A. Kilkelly Cup.
The fantastic organisational team behind the success of the club at this time decided to expand their activities and place the club on the map in 1994, by establishing the first 5-a-side tournament in the county, which continues to be staged on the May Bank Holiday weekend every year. The competition attracts soccer teams from all over Ireland, and is now established as one of the premier sporting events in the country.
The foresight of the club is very evident in its planning and erection of the first spectator stand in Mayo. The stand was officially opened by the President of the Football Association of Ireland, Pat Quigley on May 2nd, 1997.Now in its thirtieth year, Manulla FC continues to go from strength to strength. Long may the enjoyment continue.