Tom Langan - Ballycastle GAA in Co. Mayo

Tom Langan (23 September 1921 - 22 September 1974) was born in Ballymachugh, Ballycastle, attended Kilbride National School and is regarded as the greatest Gaelic football full-forward of all-time.

Playing Career

From an early age Tom was very interested in football and joined his local Ballycastle club where he helped win the Mayo senior championship of 1939. In 1943 he made his debut for the Mayo Senior team playing at centre forward and his first All-Ireland Final was in 1948, when a strong Cavan team beat Mayo by one point.

In 1950, Langan was selected at full-forward for the first time in the All-Ireland semi-final against Armagh. He displayed his great skill by scoring two goals in Mayo's victory over Armagh and when Mayo went on to win the final against Louth that year, Tom Langan had his first All-Ireland medal. From then on, he won fame as one of the greatest full-forwards in football history.

Langan's proficiency and goal scoring were again crucial to Mayo in 1951 when they advanced to the All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry. Mayo were behind in injury-time and Langan, who was playing at left-half forward, was switched to full forward on Paddy Bawn Brosnan. He scored a vital goal and Mayo went on to force a replay, which they won. They completed their second consecutive All-Ireland title by beating Meath by five points in the All-Ireland final, with Langan netting another fine goal.

Tom Langan also represented his province with distinction and helped Connacht defeat Munster in the 1951 Railway Cup Final. Langan's last appearance in county football was against Galway in the Connacht Championship of 1956 and he retired following Galway's victory in that game.

Post-Retirement

Tom Langan joined the Garda Siochana in 1944. He served at Fitzgibbon Street and he was a Detective Garda attached to the Bridewell in Dublin at the time of his death in 1974, on the eve of his 53rd birthday. On September 16th 1984, the Tom Langan Park, Ballycastle, was officially opened by the then President-elect of the GAA, Dr Mickey Loftus. It remains the home ground of the local Ballycastle club.

Tom Langan was one of the best-known personalities in Gaelic football and today his memory still lives on. In 1984, the Gaelic Athletic Association centenary year he was honoured by being named on their Football Team of the Century. He was also named on the Irish Independent/An Post Football Team of the Millennium as the greatest full-forward in the history of Gaelic football. A brilliant scorer of goals, he took on the best defences and usually came out on top.

Tom Langan won two All Ireland Senior medals, two Railway Cup medals, National League awards and all the other honours the game had to offer.