St Nick’s was registered in 1979 as a Gaelic Hurling & Camoige Club. Many of the original players played duel code football for Western Gaels and hurling for St Nicks.
The club was originally founded by Dan & Ann Loughlin, Mick & Mary Carey, Andy & Maureen Gray and Liz Kavanagh. The club is centred around St Nicholas RC church in Easton, Bristol. In recent years St Nicks have sadly lost Danny and Ann Loughlin and much more recently again Mick Carey. Without these stalwarts there would be no club today and we will always remember them fondly.
In 1979 St Nick’s Club established a Camoige team which was very successful and winning many titles in Gloucestershire County and London.
In the late 1980’s a senior hurling team was established and became very successful in the Gloucestershire County and were very unlucky not to become All Britain Club Champions being narrowly beat by 1 point in the final in 1988. With no active Camogie or hurling competitions close to hand and travels costs becoming too prohibitive both the clubs became dormant.
In 2001 the club was rejuvenated with the establishment of a Men’s Senior Gaelic Football Team. The pioneers of this team were once again Mr and Mrs Carey, Adrian Kenny, Liam Woodlock and Declan McManus to name but a few.
Many of this teams players were at the time originally playing for Western Gaels but unable to get much match time and keen to prove they were good enough a decision was made to form a team to compete not only in Bristol but also Gloucestershire.
The early years showed St Nicks would lie down for no opponent. It would take many years to win that elusive first championship but they proved their credentials by appearing in no fewer than 8 County Finals between 2001 and 2010 losing them all to either St Colmcilles of Cardiff or Western Gaels and very often losing by the narrowest of margins. During this period they were consoled by a few league winners medals but it was the “holy grail” of the Championship that they truly craved.
That day finally arrived on the 3rd Sunday in September in 2011 when St Nicks beat a Western Gaels team by a single point 11 points to 10. Adrian “A-Hole” Browne wrote his name into the history books by kicking 10 points on the day at the age of 41 years. It was a day to live long in the memory of all involved in the rebirth of St Nicks GAA. Since 2001 the club had always had hard steely footballers but the added class of the likes of Browne, Ryan “Curly” McLaughlin, Hunphrey McCarthy and Noel Roche to the ability of the long standing players such as the Miskella brothers Paddy and Jonjoe, Tim O’Loughlin, Diarmuid Moyles, Ollie Flaherty, Sean McCarthy and Kieran O’Connor. With the youth of the O’Loughlin brothers Niall and Cailum breaking through the future looked bright. The year was made all the more glorious with the adding of the league to the trophy cabinet.
The 2011 St Nicks Championship Winning Team
Championship success followed 2 years later in 2013 with a hard fought 1-4 to 6 point victory over St Colmcilles in Bristol. Midfielder Jonjoe Miskella dominating the final with 1-1 from play. That team boasted many of the same names that had won the championship 2 years previous but had added real steel in the form of Freyne-train Pat Freyne at full back and Nicky Barron in the corner back slot along with the addition of Nigel Farrelly and Conor Swan at half back Ciaran Barrett came into the forward line adding some much needed pace to the team. Matt Turner came into the team in goal and produced a jaw dropping double save late on to keep Nicks name on the cup!
The 2013 St Nicks Championship Winning Team
A mini barren run of 4 years followed this period with St Nicks contesting 2 finals and losing them both. 2016 was a particularly sore one to take kicking over 30 wides in a final that saw them lose by 1 single point to Western Gaels in a match they dominated from start to finish.
Determined to bounce back and win the title in 2017, Nicks recruited well. Paddy Miskella was rejuvenated at full back in front of David Whale with Ryan Young alongside Paddy and the very able goalkeeper Matt Turner moving into the other corner. Half backs included Cailum O’Loughlin and Gav Dungan who provided electric pace. John Polly patrolled the area in front of the full back line and it was this solid foundation which the teams success was built on. With new addition and club captain John Lyttle providing steel in the middle and Sean McCarthy and James McShea supporting raw talents Matthew Mannion and Kevin Stankard in attack St Nicks were a very real threat in the championship especially considering the strength in depth on the line.
A run to the final which included a man of the match performance from Niall O’Loughlin in the defeat of last years winners Western Gaels and a superb victory over St Judes in a thrilling semi final where Niall O’Loughlin notched 2 goals and a fine Matthew Mannion performance in banging the scores over from anywhere he fancied on the day set up a County Final against the much fancied St Colmcilles in Pontcanna field who had recently won the league at a canter. A massive mention to Nigel Farrelly who broke his wrist blocking a shot in a very dramatic finish.
The 2017 St Nicks Championship Winning Team
The Nicks performance on the day was comparable to any of the great performances in the history of the club and the 4 point winning margin flattered St Colmcilles on the day. John Lyttle added his name to the list which includes Sean McCarthy (2013) and Tim O’Loughlin (2011) as winning Championship captains for St Nicks GAA.
St Nicks have always been tough competitors and whilst some individual names have been mentioned here; the truth is that over the years past and present there are too many fine committed footballers to mention. We thank them all.