The first meeting of the club took place in May 1970 in the pool room of O’Sullivan’s Bar, only five individuals attended. These five men were the founding members of Newport Town AFC.
The club entered one team in the Clare League and played their first competitive game in August 1970. It was not until 1973 that Newport claimed their first piece of silverware beating Kilrush in the Clare shield final.
In 1975 Newport entered the Limerick District league and this is where they continue to participate today. The first league title was added to the list of honours in 1979 when the Division 2 League was won.
In 1985 there was a growing interest in soccer among schoolchildren and the schoolboys section of the club was formed. Jimmy Ryan and Martin Lenihan were the two people responsible for setting up the schoolboy division of the club. The schoolboys won their first trophies in 1988 when the U12’s won both the League and Shield competition.
1991 was the most successful year ever for the Club with both the junior team and the schoolboy’s teams winning two trophies each.
The club continued to win a number of leagues and cup’s throughout the 1990’s. In 1997 the schoolboy teams joined their adult teams and competed in the Limerick District Schoolboy League (LDSL). Success was instant with the Under 12’s winning the LDSL Premier title in 1997, they were also awarded the LDSL team of the year.
2002 saw the U13’s reach the last 64 places of the FAI Cup losing out to Newbridge Celtic. 2004 was a historic season for the schoolboy section of the club entering their first teams in the small-sided games competitions. During the 2000’s the club saw its biggest surge in growth, growing by more than 140 members.
All the while a major fundraising plan was in operation and in August 2007 a new chapter was written in the Newport Town AFC history book. After 37 years of using a field provided by the O’Sullivan family to cater for all teams, the club moved to its new home Derryleigh Park. A modern top-class facility was developed which has two sand-based pitches and in 2009 an all-weather astro-turf pitch was added. In September 2010 FAI CEO John Delaney officially opened the ground.
Also in 2007 the club were invited to take part in the Manchester Cup, four teams travelled and competed in the prestigious tournament. Two teams claimed silverware.
Every year the club has seen membership growth and in the 2017/2018 season a record membership of 400 was recorded with 32 teams including 5 junior sides (U17, U18, A, B & C). Fortunately in the past few years we also saw the reformation of girl’s soccer after years of absence and a continued growth in the schoolgirl section has seen great success both on and off the field.
In August 2017, we opened our new clubhouse in Derryleigh Park. This modern facility consists of 4 dressing-rooms, a large meeting/function room upstairs, a club shop, storage facilities & public toilets. The next stage is to develop a balcony overlooking the top pitch.
Understanding the Newport Town A.F.C. club crest
There are few essentials that represent a structured organised group, such as a soccer club, more than its crest. Despite this, for the first 28 years of the Club’s existence, our shirts were unfortunately without a Club emblem. It was during the 1998/99 season, the club adopted its inaugural crest. This crest, even at an early stage, was a way of expressing the club’s link to the town and Newport community in which it was born.
The club crest was added to the Newport soccer club red/black shirt for the first time on a regular basis during that 1998/99 season. From then onwards, the club had its own emblem that the players proudly wore on their shirts. Over the following seven seasons the crest underwent some cosmetic changes before finally being replaced with the current club crest in 2017.
It was during the 1998/99 season that the club ran a competition with the local schools to design a crest for the club. The competition was open to primary and secondary schools students from Newport, between the ages of 5 and 18.
A small prize was to be awarded to the winning pupils. The panel of judges, mainly came from the then club’s committee. The club has always been committed to supporting local education in schools. It could with the development and design of a club crest based upon local pupils design proposals, develop this notion as a natural progression. The standard and quality of work entered was absolutely remarkable, showcasing the work of young artists and having their wonderful imaginations incorporated into the clubs history, thus installing confidence into young people by recognising their talent and taking their work seriously. The winners were announced at a prize-giving ceremony at the club in Newport in 1998/99 season.
There were two winners of the competition, namely students, Michael Flannery and Kevin Larkin, presenting proposals. Both, who subsequently played for the club, were local school students as well as being fine young artists. The amalgamation of the two proposals formed the basis of the crest designs, with one containing a bridge with a river running underneath and the second had a bridge with a football underneath. Thus the origins of the club crest came from these early designs.
The original badge comprised of the symbol of the bridge at the top of the crest being representative of the bridge in the middle of Newport town, with the local Castlewaller and Newport rivers combining and running underneath. A striped section of columns divided into the red and black of the club lies underneath. Originally there was a soccer ball at its centre, denoting the reference to soccer club. The words inscribed overhead the crest were; Newport Town AFC, Founded 1970.
Later on, 2006 the ball was removed and a star added, symbolizing the four directions from the square at the centre of Newport town, spreading soccer into the locality.
Indeed, the current badge is an amendment of the previous version of the club crest badge, developed in 2006. The club made the decision to modernise the crest in 2006, mindful they were going on a schoolchildren trip to the Manchester Cup later that season. Thus the club needed a new crest for the trip. The crest was based on an adaptation made by Donogh McGrath, in which the surrounding gold coloured piping lines were added and stylised. The lines in this latest design are somewhat simpler, to make it easier for the crest and the club’s corporate identity to be reproduced in all the different formats. The changed club crest badge for the Manchester Cup trip was a significant change to the original 1998/99 one. The main feature change was the introduction of the piping lines surrounding the crest, the addition of a central star and removal of the ball, as well as the ‘TOWN’ being omitted from the crest. The addition of the star symbolized the four directions from the square at the centre of Newport tow, spreading soccer into the locality.
During the 2007/08 season the current final modification was added. The ‘TOWN’ was reinstated back into the crest, as well as add some slight definition changes to the bridge detail. While the crest changed through these years from 1998/99 to 2007/08, it has remained a basic symbol of the Club ever since, featuring on club shirts, official merchandise and stationary throughout the years from the initial 1998/99 season right up until the present day.
This crest has remained unchanged since the 2006/07 amendments. And so the crest that the club wears to this day was created in 1998/99, although there have been a few variations since. It is a piping oval-shaped design, in which the red and black bars of the original design, along with bridge and river in Newport’s centre which are the representative symbols of Newport locality are contained therein. Remembering the core aim of the club is the promotion of Association Football into the local community, the crest has this aspect symbolized by the central star. The club name Newport Town AFC appears within the piping across the top and below the club colours and the year of the foundation of the club, 1970, to the sides. So, what we have today is a crest that honours the soccer related sporting dimension of the club as well as its connection to its surrounding community, into our future years.