Douglas first attempt at fielding under-age teams was early in 1940s when Jack Dennehy and Paddy Desmond tool charge of an under 16 team. Little or no success was achieved, though the team did reach the final of the football league but were defeated by Nemo Rangers. Still, it was a start.
In 1945 the minors, now playing in the South-East division, won the hurling championship, despite losing to Ballymartle in the final. Douglas won on an objection. In the county, Douglas met Bandon in Ballinhassig on November 5. The sides were level 2-5 to 3-2 at half time. In a fiercely contested second half Douglas looked set for victory when they led by two points with time running out. Bandon however snatched the all important goal to give them victory 3-6 to 4-2. In the county final played in Douglas later, Glen Rovers easily accounted for Bandon, 11-9 to 1-1.
In 1948 Douglas under 16 hurlers defeated Blackrock in a trilling first round championship game, 4-5 to 5-1. However Blackrock objected, Douglas counter objected and after lengthy board investigations, it was recommended that the game be re-fixed. Both sides agreed but on this occasion Blackrock scored a comfortable victory. In 1949 Douglas reached the under 16 hurling championship semi-final before going out to Glen Rovers 7-4 to 2-2.
Michael Horgan was the club juvenile Secretary and board delegates were Michael Tobin and Noel Downey. Bill Aherne and Liam Bennett were others to give a hand. Indeed Liam Bennett was elected to the GPC of the Juvenile Board in 1948, while Jerry Collins was vice-chairman of the same board for a number of years.
These few successes at minor and under 16 level gave the club great hope for the future but through sheer neglect their promise did not materialise.
The club committee of 1955 were quick to realise that the future of the G.A.A. in Douglas lay with the youth and set about organising the young boys. Street leagues were run and proved highly successful and soon the victories followed. So successful were these leagues that the county junior football title won in 1962 was attributed to their organisation.
Douglas first success at under age level was in 1956 when the Fe 16 footballers defeated Na Piarsaigh 3-3 to 1-2 to win the league. In the championship they reached the final against Glenview, but the Dillons Cross side objected and Douglas counter-objected. The outcome was that both sides were rules out of the competition and the final declared void.
The season 1957 and 1958 were the springboard from which the club finally established itself. For the first time ever the under 15 footballers won the "A" football league and championship, and repeated the performance the following year as juveniles. These successes produced a crop of some of the finest young player ever to play with Douglas and no less than eight of them were on the junior side that won county honours in 1962.
The under 16 victories were achieved in trilling fashion. Team trainer Liam Collins had the players out early in the season and it proved beneficial. Douglas reached the final of the football cup - a competition designed to grade the teams for the league - and were badly beaten 4-3 to 0-5. However Douglas opted to play in the premier grade. In the championship Douglas met Na Piarsaigh and it was an opportunity to reverse the cup final defeat. This they did in splendid style winning 2-6 to 2-3. That victory put Douglas into the final against Lees and it proved a magnificent event.
The game was played at Church Road on September 22, and at the end of a gruelling hour both sides were tied together, 3-3 for Lees to 2-6 for Douglas. The replay was fixed for the Athletic Grounds on November 2 and again it was a cracker. On those occasions Douglas emerged victorious 1-4 to 1-3 to create their own bit of history. At the senior County Board meeting the following Tuesday night, a letter was read from a man who lived in Listowel and was at the final. In his letter he complemented both clubs on their magnificent displays and said it was the best game of football he had seen in the park for many years. High praise indeed.
Douglas went in search of a double when they met Na Piarsaigh in the final of the league and emerged winner 3-5 to 3-1 after another classic. For good measure Douglas won the under 16 "B" hurling league when they defeated Brian Dillons 3-3 to 2-2 at Church Road, after losing the championship semi-final to the same opponents the previous week.
Douglas had to wait until 1965 for the next under-age success when the under 15 team won the "B" football league and championship with an exceptional team that included future stars in Pat Holland, Davie Bray, John White and Joe Lynch. Der Keane was the teams official. Another young man who gave invaluable service to under-age affairs in the early 1960s was Sean OShea.
In 1966 both Fe 15 and Fe 6 boards amalgamated to form Bord Na nOg and Jim Daly (RIP) of Douglas was elected vice-chairman, an honour well deserved. Jim also served as club delegate to the county board for a number of years and proved a very capable representative.
With the parish beginning to expand and plenty new recruits becoming available, the under-age committee found itself able to field teams in all grades and it was only a matter of time - we thought - before that elusive senior title would come to the parish.
In 1970 the club fielded at under 13 level ad duly won the football and hurling leagues - there was no championship for this grade at that time. Team mentors Joe Lynch, John Dwyer and Brendan Larkin worked extremely hard with these lads and their efforts were rewarded. Hurling was well organised at under-age level and victories at Under 15 level over Mayfield in the league and championship finals gave the club a number of marvellous exponents of the code that were to bring great honour in later years. I refer of course to Jimmy OMahony and Michael ORegan. Team mentor, the late Paddy Kidney, can take the lions share of the credit for these victories.
1971 was a very successful season for the under-age section of the club. Victories were recorded over Brian Dillons 4-6 to 2-4 in the "B" under 16 hurling league final, over Delaneys 1-9 to 1-5 in the under 16 "B" football championship final and over Ballyphehane 3-6 to 2-3 in the under 16 "B" football league final. For good measure the under 13 team beat St. Michaels in the "B" football league final.
The 1978 season saw Douglas win its first ever county at under-age level. Following their victory over Mayfield in the city final, the under 14 footballers made the journey to Ballyanley to play Kanturk in the county final. The team was managed by Paddy Murphy, Wilbert Aherne and club chairman Matt Twomey with Brendan Larkin looking after the coaching and training. No stone was left unturned in our quest for county honours and we knew we had to play to our full potential if we were to win.
Playing against a strong breeze in the opening half, our lads were magnificent, with the half backline of Dan Leary, Tadgh Sullivan and Fergus O'Connor completely on top. Against the run of play the Kanturk lads scored two goals ad it took great courage and determination by our lads to over come these setbacks. But overcome them they did and when Declan Hurley scored a goal direct from a 50 there was no way we were going to lose and the team went on to record a historic 2-9 to 4-1 victory. The team and subs were: John OSullivan, Henry Grimes (capt), Gus OCallaghan, Donal OSullivan, Fergal OConnor, Tadgh OSullivan, Dan Leary, Declan Hurley, Philip Kavanagh, Neil Murphy, Paul Daly, Andy Lehane, Aodh OMurchu, Ted O'Sullivan, Aiden Cotter, Subs. Brendan Scully, James Barry, Andrew ONeill, George OConnor, Kieran Kelly, Colm OMahony.
The under 12 hurlers also reached the county final in 1978 which was played in Crosshaven but after leading by three goals at one stage, they finally went under to Ballinhassig by two. The team did manage to win the William Lehane trophy for the Redmonds tournament and it was fitting reward for the team officials Eddie Murphy and Tom OSullivan. However this teams finest hour was yet to come.
1978 was also an eventful year for some of our under-age players. Pat Cotter. John Bermingham and Noel Forde were members of the Cork under 15 team that won the Tailteann Games hurling title played in Thurles, while Paul Daly, for the second year in succession, was Corks representative at the All-Ireland finals of the Feile na Gael skills Competition. While he did not win the event, he finished a credible joint third.
Douglas had won of its most successful season in 1982, contesting 20 finals, winning 17, but more significantly, ten of the titles were won at under-age level. Two of these victories were at premier grade and brought great satisfaction to those involved.
For the under 14s it was marvellous season winning four titles in all including a county championship in football. Success was achieved in hurling at the expense of Blackrock in the final of the "B" league and against Mayfield in the final of the "B" feile na nGael, with Niall OSullivan being the hero of the hour, scoring the winning goal in the last few seconds.
In the football championship city section, Douglas accounted for a stubborn Bishopstown side to qualify for the county final against Carrigaline. This game was played on December 12 at Minane Bridge before a large Douglas contingent. Up to then the Douglas lads had failed to produce their best for but in the final they really turned up trumps and won convincingly 4-9 to 0-1. The marvellous displays of David Larkin and Brian McCarthy at midfield were the highlights of a one-sided game. The team and substitutes are as follows: Alan McGrath, Tomas OConnor, Martin Boyle, Jerry Murphy, Adrian Bushnell, Dessie ORegan (capt.) Dominic Wilson, David Larkin, Peter Bermingham, Rory Moloney, Brian McCarthy, Vivian Cantillon, Paul Twomey, Donal McKeown, Niall Sullivan, Subs. used Daniel Crowley, Timmy Speight, Stephan Holland, Adrian Spillane. Team officials were Noel Cantillon and Brendan Larkin.
Douglas recorder numerous under-age successes over the years and it would take a complete book to do justice to these victories. All are equally cherished both by the club and the players who too part.
As stated in the main club history section, this Under-age summary has been extracted from the history of Douglas GAA publication, which was published in 1987. The intervening years have been equally successful and I hope that the history of this period will be recounted in the months ahead.