Killala Association Football Club was formed in 1975 by a number of local youths, including Seamus McDonnell, Gerry Bourke, and Peter McDonnell, to run 5-A-Side and 7-A-side matches locally. As the club became more organised, a team was entered into the Mayo Junior League, as the competitive bug had bitten.
A group of about twenty members kept the club going in those days borrowing fields from farmers in the area in order to play matches. The first pitch we used was Sweeney’s pitch, now home to Killala GAA club, from where the club moved to Johnny Gardiner’s field beside Mullafarry Quarry, then on to the Asahi pitch in 1978. In 1982 Killala AFC moved to Ross and to Boland’s field for a season before moving across the road to a field we rented from C.B.I. Ltd until 1991 when it was back to Asahi Park where we played until 2004, when the club moved to its purpose built facility at Courthouse St, Killala.
Despite great enthusiasm from players and mentors, success was hard to come by and in fact only two league titles came to the town in the early years, the Division 3 title in 1979/80 and Division 2 title in 1984/85.
In 1986 it was decided to start a youth development policy at the club to try and improve the success rate on the field. This was to prove the most successful period in the history of Killala Football Club with the introduction of schoolboys football there was an unprecedented interest in the club and the game in general in the area, support and sponsorship came from all sides of the community and after a few short years we were fielding the full compliment of schoolboys and youths teams. After the good ground work had been done by the committee and coaches alike it was inevitable that the trophies would soon start to follow. League titles were won at U.13, U.14, U.16 and U.18 levels in recent years (a remarkable feat for a small north Mayo town), the biggest game of all coming in 1992 when the U.17 team reached the last sixteen of the FAI Cup. Killala were firmly on the football map. Another feature of the club is its ability to produce players of a very high standard. Since 1991 the club has consistently supplied players to the Mayo Kennedy Cup Panel, in all we have had twenty nine players playing for county representative teams in recent years. At the start of 2005, Killala has a player training with the Republic of Ireland U15 girls squad, and she looks set to become the clubs first international player. The achievements of all these players is a yard stick for the younger players starting out at the club and to get players playing to this level is something we actively encourage at the club in the hope that one day we might produce that one star player.
In keeping with our policy of coaching to a high standard we run summer clinics every year during the school holidays, FAI senior staff coaches have been coming to Killala for several years and every year they do a week long clinic assisted by our own coaches and caters for 90 plus players throughout the week.
As the club expanded the expenses grew, fund-raising and sponsorship became increasingly harder to share around among the nine teams so the club introduced a lotto draw some years ago, and to date it has proved reasonably successful, covering the costs of running the club and putting some funds to the future development of the club.
The year 1996, was the 21st anniversary of the club and an in-depth look was taken at the clubs activities on and off the field. It had been a priority of the club for a long time to own its own ground and the 21st anniversary seemed a great time to make a positive move in that direction. A parcel of five acres of land was bought, and through years of fundraising and an allocation of funding in the 2000 Sports Capital Programme, this dream was realised. The new pitch and clubhouse was officially opened on Sunday July 25th 2004 by Brian Kerr, Manager of the Republic of Ireland Senior International Team.
On the back of the support from our pitch opening the club applied for funding for a floodlight All weather pitch and through great fundraising work and with the help of funding from the dept of Sports & Tourism, the new facility was opened just before Christmas 2005 and is currently being enjoyed by hundreds of footballers. Success on the field has never quite matched the success we have had off the field over the last 25 years, but the club have accumulated quite a number of titles in this short time.