Before the founding of the GAA there was a form of hurling that existed which consisted of hurling the ball from one parish to another. There is a tradition in Newport of such contests taking place on the plains of Annagh between the neighbouring parishes of Murroe & Newport. The founding of the GAA brought organisation to such events but maintained the parish identity as the core of its ethos. Newport Young Ireland Hurling Club was set up in 1886 in addition to two other clubs in the parish - Birdhill & Toor. William Lee was the first President of the Young Ireland Club, John Callaghan was the first secretary and James Wixted was captain of the team. However, difficulties in travelling, which was mostly on foot, dictated that only challenge games against neighbouring teams were played into the early years of the twentieth century.
One of the oldest playing fields in the parish was Hayes field at Coole . Here in the Munster Championship of 1888 the Clare Hurlers received a walkover from Limerick, and the Clare footballers defeated Limerick, but subsequently lost on an objection. Newport parish was again the venue for the 1889 championships which were held at the Racecourse field New Ross. It wasn't until 1906 that a Newport team (Toor) decided to contest the North Tipperary championships. Even in those early years, each of the clubs in the parish had huge support. For matches in Newport, the town would be a whirl of activity and excitement as fans flocked to cheer their heroes. Local leagues were much in vogue in the 20's providing an opportunity for a wide range of players from the different parts of the parish to display their abilities. This helped develop an interest and an enthuasism for hurling and resulted in Newport's first North Tipperary title in 1924 with the Junior Hurlers winning their championship followed by the minors in 1926.
In 1928 Newport made their first appearance in a Senior Hurling final, losing to Toomevara. In 1929 another team from the parish, Mulcaire Rovers was formed with the majority of their players being from the Birdhill end of the parish. They affiliated to the North board as a junior hurling club and played in the faded green and gold (vertical stripes) of the old Birdhill team of the previous decade.
Newport Junior Hurling Team 1915 : Standing: M O'Connor, M O'Gorman, P Carroll, J Coffey, S Coffey, M Flannery, M Rainsford, M Ryan (sec) Seated: W Kennedy, P Ryan, J Ryan, P O'Connor(capt), M Aherne, P Ryan, M Carroll. In Front: D Troy, J Meehan.
1930's and 40's..
The 1930's were glory years in the parishes hurling history. In 1931 Newport affiliated to the West Tipperary Hurling Board and Mulcaire Rovers started to play their games in the Longhouse field which is still in use today. In 1932, back in the North division, Newport won the Senior championship for the first time. It now looked as though the Newport Seniors were destined to become one of the most powerful combinations in the county. They had lowered the colours of the leading teams in Limerick & Tipperary without having yet reached their full potential. However just when the future seemed brightest, dissension within the ranks led to a split in the club. Six of the clubs main players transferred to neighbouring clubs.
Newport recovered somewhat from these setbacks to win a second North Tipp title in 1935. In 1937 there were four adult teams in the Parish and Mulcaire Rovers won the North Tipperary Junior Hurling Championship. Jimmy Coffey played at wing-forward on the Tipperary team which defeated Kilkenny in the All Ireland Senior Hurling final.
In 1939 another team emerged from the parish - Kyle Rovers was formed and although the club only lasted a few years it was undoubtedly its influence which established the strong tradition of football which exists in the parish today. Kyle Rovers brought the Minor football championship to the parish in 1940. In 1947 Mulcaire Rovers won a second North Tipp junior title with Kyle Rovers winning the County Football championship in that same year..
1950's and 60's..
Much of the hurling and football activity during the first half of the century was held in various parts of the parish. In 1950 a permanent home was found with the opening of Páirc Ui Riain, perpetuating the memory of Paddy Ryan (L), one of Newports famous sons during the struggle for independence.
Also in that year a new effort was made to bring all the clubs in the parish together under one banner. Agreement was reached and teams were affiliated in Intermediate, Junior and Minor Hurling and in Junior and Minor football. The new club was called Glen Rovers.
However, old divisions reappeared in 1952 and Newport and Mulcaire Rovers split again. New ground was broken in 1957 when the first County hurling title was brought to the parish with the Newport Juniors doing the honours. Newport returned to the Senior ranks in 1958 and remained there until 1964. The Mulcaire Rovers disbanded in 1960 when the Parish Rule (which allowed only one team per parish) was introduced. In 1965 Newport won the County Intermediate Title for the first time and returned to the Senior ranks once again .