Football was played in Listry since the foundation of the GAA. Mostly inter-parish or friendly games for a start, but many Listry boys helped Dr. Crokes in the Co. Championships, notable Dan O’Leary, Conie Murphy and Florrie O’Sullivan and many others.
Dan O’Leary was the first Listry man to play in an All-Ireland, when he played with London Irish who lost to Dublin in the 1902 final. Florrie O’Sullivan ws the first Listry man to win and All-Ireland medal, helping Kerry to win it’s first All-Ireland in 1903, and he also played on the successful Kerry team of 1904. Conie Murphy first played with Kerry which lost to Kildare in 1905, but also played with the teams which won in 1909, 1913-1914.
The East Kerry Board was formed in the early twenties, and Johnny Moriarty was one of the first secretaries. Fossa and Listry joined to affiliate a club. They entered two teams; Fossa Senior and Listry Junior. They played in all the East Kerry Championships during the twenties. The transport being provided by Jack Sheehan’s lorry. In the late twenties Fossa didn’t officiate and some Listry lads helped Beaufort where there was a good team at the time.
There was lots of school football played during the late twenties and with those players as a nucleus Listry affiliated its own club in 1932, and entered a junior team in the E.K. Championships. The first officers were;
Chairperson: Marie Moriarty
Vice Chairperson: Wade Sugrue
Secretary: Tom Lynch
Treasurer: Tommy Leslie
Committee: John Lantry, Jackie Clifford, Marty Buckley, Dermot Lantry
From the start the club got great local support, Jackie Clifford placing his house at it’s disposal for meetings, Michael McCarthy always giving his hall free for Ceilioci, AGM’s and Patie Tangney giving a field for a token rent. After three years the team reached the 1936 Junior Final with Kenmare. Listry won on a score of Listry 6-6 Kenmare 4-1.
After winning this Junior Final a programme of training was drawn up, and senior and junior teams were entered for the championships. The players were very dedicated to training, 30-40 players was usual at training sessions four times a week, many in there teens and non smokers, and mostly pioneers. This training paid off when they won the East Kerry Championship in 1937-’38-’39-’40-’41 and the Junior Championship in 1936-’37-’38.
Listry helped Laune Rangers in the Senior County Championship in 1936-’37-’38. They entered a Senior team of their own in 1939, and after beating South Kerry at Waterville on the score of 4-3 to 0-0 they went on the beat Gealtacht in the County Semi-Final on the score of 4-3 to 2-5 only to lose to an objection. In 1940 Listry reached the County Intermediate Final only to lose to Kenmare by one point.
In 1941 Listry again reached the Intermediate Final with Castleisland which ended in a draw, losing the replay by the narrowest of margins. In 1941 on the request of the East Kerry board Listry entered two Senior teams in the Championship – this is something that no other East Kerry Club has ever done.
After the outbreak of Word War II many of the players emigrated and after 1941 Listry didn’t reach the final again until 1944 losing to a very good Legion team by one point, 3-4 to 2-6.
During the forties the club concentrated a lot on the minors, and this had its results, when the club again won the East Kerry League in 1952. For the next eighteen years the club took part in every competition in East Kerry, on many occasions reaching the semi-final or final.
In 1970 the club realised its cherished ambition, when the senior team after a splendid game took the Senior Championship and O’Donoghue Cup from reigning Champions Spa.
At that time the club secured land from the Land Commission. The man responsible for negotiating the deal was Rev Fr. J. McCluskey then C.C. in the parish. Much work had to be done in ploughing, draining, leveling and seeding. Great credit is due to Ml O’Leary and John Tangney, O’Shea brothers, Riordan brothers, B.Tangney, Secretary at the time J.J. Tangney and Connie Mahony Vice Chairman. The Chairman at the time was Jas Fleming R.I.P. The first game was played in the field in May 1972, it was an East Kerry League game between Listry and Spa.
The year before Phil Scully won a National League medal with Kerry and also toured America with them.