On the The Raharney Rovers Football Club’s history page, the Raharney, Co. Westmeath club is said to have first appeared under that name in 1886 in a match against the Rathwire Rangers. However, the information between then and 1904, when the club eventually reformed as a hurling club, is publicly sparse.
The G.A.A. officially began hosting a Westmeath Senior Football Championship in 1892.
On November 7, 1891, the Raharney Rovers, who joined the G.A.A., elected club officers. They are as follows:
- Hugh Fullam, Captain
- Michael Farrelly, Treasurer
- Patrick Gavisk, Secretary
- William Neill, Committee
- William Mooney, Committee
- Tom Slevin, Committee
- T McClone, Committee
- A Fitzsimmonds, Committee
- Bartle Reilly, Committee
The December 1891 Raharney Rovers Football Club was as follows:
- Hugh Fullam (Captain) – Born 1873 to William Fullam and Mary Colgan
- Patrick Gavisk – Born 1876 to Mathew Gavisk and Catherine Grogan
- William Mooney – Born 1872 to Thomas Mooney and Catherine Fullam
- Michael Couglin – Born 1872 to James Couglin and Rose Moran
- Garrett Lynch
- Thomas Malone
- Bartholomew Reilly – Born 1865 to James Reilly and Bridget ?
- William Neill
- William Moran
- James Owens
- Christopher Owens
- Michael Farrelly
- Patrick Farrelly
- James Smyth – Born 1872 to Patrick Smyth and Catherine McNally
- Francis Dunphy – Born 1868 to Patrick Dunphy and Ann Colclough
- Thomas Harris – Born 1868 to Patrick Harris and Bridget Ivory
- John Cunningham – Born 1868 to James Cunningham and Ann Anderson
- Joseph Coyne
- Thomas Slevin – Born 1868 to Thomas Slevin and Mary Keegan
- James Grattan – Born 1873 to James Grattan and Mary Mulligan
Other names that appear on the team between then and April 1892 include:
- Patrick Fullam (Hugh’s brother) – Born 1875
In 1893, the Raharney Rovers are said to have absorbed the Thomastown Rangers. However, neither Football club was mentioned in local newspapers ever again.
Fights between clubs in the G.A.A. organization caused a breakdown of G.A.A. Football in Westmeath and no G.A.A. Senior Football Championship Match would happen again in Westmeath until 1903.
In 1904, a Raharney Rovers Club returned, but this time as a hurling club instead of football. A local football team, however, was also born in this year, the Riverstown Emmetts. The revitalization of G.A.A. clubs in Raharney is said to have been driven by the renovations of St Bridget’s Church in Raharney in 1904.
“During the reconstruction, there was a necessity for various tradesmen from the locality and beyond to work on the project,” the Raharney Rover’s hurling club history says. “The workforce consisted of the Maher brothers Tom and Joe, who worked as stonemasons. They befriended a local man, Peter Nea, and their common interest in the Gaelic Athletic Association saw the rekindling of Raharney Rovers as a hurling club.”
At the time, Rovers were everywhere! Some of the funds raised to renovate St. Bridget’s Church came from the Raharney Rover Social Club of New York City, which was founded by a group of Raharney natives that moved to America in the mid-1890s. Some of those Rovers continued to travel back and forth between Raharney and New York City. Michael Murray, for example, returned for a year in 1907 and played football for the Riverstown Emmetts.