Sport plays an integral role in the life of the local community and the town is endowed with excellent sporting and leisure facilities and boasts a large number of clubs catering for an array of different sports.
Both the local GAA and soccer clubs have top class playing pitches and training facilities and St Louis Community School is up there with the best in the country in terms of it’s sporting facilities.
In the town centre there is a fine squash/handball complex with shower facilities. We can also boast of a unique outdoor gym at the town sculpture park.
Kiltimagh can lay claim to some notable achievements and personalities in the world of sport down the years, perhaps most famously, the boxer Gene Tunney, the undefeated World Heavywight Champion in the 1920’s, whose parents hailed from the parish. Tunney was involved in one of the most famous fight in boxing history in 1927, the infamous ‘Long Count’ title defence against Jack Dempsey.
Some six decades in 1982, later another Heavyweight boxer with strong Kiltimagh familyconnections, Gerry Cooney, famously labelled ‘The Great White Hope’ by Don King, fought Larry Holmes for the World Heavyweight title in Las Vegas. A number of coilltes attended that fight which was then the richest bout in boxing history and attracted world wide attention, not least of all in Kiltimagh where the fight generated great excitement in the lead up to the big event and on the night itself when large crowds of friends and neighbours gathered in each other’s homes or local pubs to watch events unfold from Caesars Palace. Unfortunately Holmes proved too strong and he successfully defended his title with the fight being stopped in Round 13.
Sean Lavan, born in Cordarragh in 1898 was to become one of Ireland’s foremost athletes in the 1920’s and represented his country in the Olympic Games of 1924 and 1928. However he is probably best known for being the first gaelic footballer to employ the ‘toe to hand’ technique or ‘solo run’ as it’s now commonly known as and which is an integral part of modern Gaelic Football.
There have been numerous successes on the playing field and one of the town’s proudest days was in 1978 when the local GAA had three players, Andrew McNicholas, Charlie Gilmartin and Tom Byrne, on the Mayo minor team, which beat Dublin in a thrilling All Ireland Final.
Founded in 1887, Kiltimagh GAA Club is one of the oldest and most vibrant clubs in the county and caters for all players ranging from U - 8s up to senior. The under age set up is one of the best in the county with the club having enjoyed regular successes down the years at Divisional and County level. The senior team currently competes in the Mayo Intermediate Championship.
The club grounds, Gilmartin Park are situated just on the edge of town on Park Road and the facilities include two full length playing pitches, four dressing rooms, meeting room, gym, covered stand for up to 500 spectators and ladies and gents toilets. The club colours are Blue and White.
The first soccer club in Kiltimagh was formed in the early 1970’s and it existed under various names until 2002 when the then club, Kiltimagh Athletic merged with neighbours Knock United to form Kiltimagh-Knock United. The club have developed excellent facilities at their base in Cloonlee, three miles from town, which encompasses state of the art dressing rooms, playing pitch, training pitch and an astro turf facility which is available for hire to other clubs and groups.
St Louis Community School has a long and proud tradition in basketball down the years but it was not until 2002 that Kiltimagh Giants basketball club was founded. The club, which has thrived since its formation, caters for boys and girls aged 8 to 16 years.
Squash is currently enjoying something of a renaissance in Kiltimagh with the re establishment of the Kiltimagh Squash Club in late 2011. The sport was introduced in the early 1980’s with the opening of the squash/handball complex and immediately it took off. However it’s popularity had waned somewhat in the intervening years but the new club has been very pro active, organising regular leagues which cater for upwards of sixty players and the club also enters teams in the Connacht Towns League.
Kiltimagh Bocce Complex opened in 2011 and is a welcome addition to the local sporting infrastructure. The complex has lots to offer, the centrepiece being two world-class bocce courts and there is also table tennis, pool, table football and a seating area. The courts are open to all clubs and groups and have very flexible hours to accommodate visitors.
Kiltimagh is ideally located to take advantage of the wealth of excellent golf courses in the West of Ireland. Most local golfers are members of Ballyhaunis, Claremorris or Swinford clubs.
Other courses around include Balla (Par 3), Claremorris, Mulranny, Castlebar, Ballinrobe, Westport and two magnificent championship links courses at Enniscrone and Carne, Belmullet.
Established in 2011, Ryan’s Bar Golf Society has proved to be popular focal point for many local golfers, especially those who are relatively new to the game. The society organises a number of outings throughout the year and the emphasis is firmly on the social side of the game.
There are a number of mapped walking routes for the Kiltimagh area all varying in distance and difficulty. The walker will experience varying landscapes which will include mountain, woodland, bog tracks etc. These walks which cater for walkers of all levels of experience include a selection of walks available around Kiltimagh to help walkers become familiar with the area and also the Sliabh Cairn walk which will take you into attractive hilltop settings, with marvellous views over the landscape.
The Pollagh, Glore and Gweestion, offer good brown trout fishing and are all tributaries of the River Moy, a mere 20 minutes drive away. Kiltimagh is a good central location for the plentiful salmon and trout lakes and rivers of Mayo. Kiltimagh is also in the heart of the main area, classified by the Fisheries Board, for coarse angling in Mayo. The local Angling Club has hosted a number of major events in recent years, including the All Ireland Pike Fishing Championship.