A great family tradition

September 11, 2006
The Coleman family in Abbeyknockmoy, County Galway is positively steeped in GAA tradition. Joe Coleman was one of three brothers who starred on Abbeyknockmoy's only SHC-winning side in 1988. His son John is a dual player with the club at present, while daughter Carmel captained the Galway junior ladies football team this year. Fittingly, Joe also sponsored that side in his capacity as the driving force behind Coleman Roofing & Carpentry. Galway ladies' bid for a place in the 2006 Connacht junior football championship final came unstuck when they lost to Leitrim at Tuam Stadium on Sunday July 2. There was no shame in defeat, however, as the Galway girls were fielding their second string while Leitrim's first XV plays in the junior grade. The gallant Galway girls were captained by Carmel Coleman from Abbeyknockmoy and generously sponsored by her father, Joe Coleman of Coleman Roofing & Carpentry." Joe is a brother of former Galway hurling great Michael Coleman, who featured at centrefield on the Tribesmen's 1988 Liam McCarthy Cup winning team. That was a memorable year, indeed, for the Colemans as the local club Abbeyknockmoy also annexed their one and only county SHC with three siblings lining out on the victorious side - Michael, Mattie (who played football for the county in the 'eighties) and Joe. Two older brothers - Bernie (a dual player) and Jarlath - also played football for Monivea-Abbey." Today, Joe's son John and daughter Carmel are flying the flag for the proud family tradition, as well as nephew Niall Coleman, the impressive young Annaghdown clubman who lines out at midfield for the Galway senior footballers. Niall is a son of Mattie, who also figured on the Monivea-Abbey team that defeated Tuam Stars in the 1992 Galway SFC final." With the hurl long since nailed up, Joe is still an ardent GAA follower and local clubman. But he spends most of his time overseeing the family business, Joe Coleman Roofing & Carpentry Ltd., which is based at Abbeyknockmoy, Tuam, County Galway. Joe established the business in 1984 having served his apprenticeship working in the trade for a number of years prior to that." Joe Coleman Roofing & Carpentry specialises in roofing and second fixings as well as practically any timber-related fittings. The business has also expanded into private house building and extensions/renovations, operating within a 30-mile radius of Abbeyknockmoy and thereby including the urban sprawl of Galway city as well as Tuam and Athenry in its catchment area. Garden gazebos is another area into which Joe has recently diversified and - in keeping with every other facet of the business - he has already earned a stellar reputation for first-class craftsmanship, service and value in this line of work." Operating from his own state-of-the-art workshop, Joe employs a team of seven at present, as well as subbies, depending on the workload at any given time. His son John is now part and parcel of the business and also plays both codes for Abbeyknockmoy (hurling) and Monivea-Abbey (football), the local clubs with which the Coleman name has become synonymous over the years." The Colemans were heavily involved in the historic 1988 SHC breakthrough, with Joe donning the No.5 shirt in the county final that year. Indeed, he collected junior, intermediate and senior championship honours with the local club as Abbeyknockmoy rose from relative obscurity to become a major force in the county. The late 'eighties/early 'nineties was undoubtedly the golden era for Abbeyknockmoy GAA and Joe was proud to be associated with that great side, which was packed full of talent from the surrounding households." Joe, who's on the club committee at present, reflects: "I played for the club all my life. I remember winning a North Board minor medal with them in the early '70s and I've been with them since. Unfortunately, we were relegated to the intermediate championship last year but we're hoping for a quick return to senior status." Joe's daughter has inherited the Coleman GAA gene. A gifted dual player, she plays football for Monivea-Abbey and camogie with nearby Mountbellew Hurling Club. Carmel has been on the Galway junior ladies football panel for three years and was honoured to represent the team as captain for the 2006 season." In early July, the girls lost their provincial championship opener to a Leitrim side punching below its weight (Leitrim have now contested five successive Connacht ladies junior finals) and were also pipped by a point by Monaghan in the Division Three league decider earlier in the year." Joe has always been very supportive of his children's GAA activities and he demonstrated this when he agreed to sponsor the Galway junior ladies team this year. He has also afforded various sponsorships to local GAA club over the years as his way of putting something back into the Association that has given his so much pleasure as both a player and observer. (He also supports soccer and rugby in the locality.) With a good crop of talent at their disposal and a concerted effort being made in football, hurling and ladies football, Abbeyknockmoy isn't far off a return to the big time. Joe Coleman has his fingers crossed anyway: "It's a rural area but it's a big parish and there are plenty of youngsters who want to play for the club, so I'm sure our day will come again soon."

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