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Clontarf GAA Club

The first organised Gaelic football club in Clontarf was the legendary Brian Boru Club, formed in 1919.  That club opened in the turbulent earliest years of our state and proudly and defiantly kept the Gaelic football flag waving on the seafront until their ship hit troubled waters and sank in 1941.  Two efforts were made - both unfortunately unsuccessful - to re-float the ship under the name Clontarf G.A.A. club in the 1950's.  The club finally ceased to function in 1957 due to lack of both players and mentors. Clontarf was bereft of any organised G.A.A. activity until today's club was formally established at a meeting in Belgrove Boys School on the 11th April, 1961.  The group who attended that meeting with Gerry O'Connor (Senior) as chairman must be regarded as the apostles of the G.A.A. in Clontarf - Fergus O'Kennedy, Rev. Tom Menton, Joe Glackin, Tim Moore, Paddy Smith, Terry O'Dea, Michael Mahony, Peadar Kavanagh, Frank O'Dea, Charlie Hughes and Michael Kelleher.

The meeting took place mainly due to the persistence of Fergus O'Kennedy, a Belgrove boys school teacher whose team had just won a Primary Schools hurling league trophy at Croke Park - with Joe O'Connor as Captain.  At that inaugural meeting the clubs first executive committee was chosen: Patron Canon Patrick Carton P.P., Clontarf (remember Clontarf's three present parishes didn't come into existence until 1966), President Rev. Fr. Tom Menton, Chairman Michael Gleeson (elected in his absence through illness), Secretary Joe Hickey (also absent), Treasurer Tim Moore and Board Delegate Frank O'Dea.  Sadly, of this first committee, only Frank O'Dea is still with us.

Although first formed as a hurling club for juveniles, football was soon added to the clubs activities.  Since those fledging days of almost 40 years ago Clontarf has experienced crests and troughs in its development on and off the playing field but has matured into a stable progressive club with a very respected reputation for its over all contribution to all aspects of G.A.A. activities in Dublin.  In area bereft of a G.A.A. presence for some years prior to 1961 the club has carefully nurtured and fostered a love of Gaelic games in the locality and can now stand on an equal footing with any G.A.A. unit in the country. 

By 1967 Clontarf was in a position to field an adult football team - competing in the Dublin junior league.  In 1973 Clontarf gained intermediate status and in 1980 won promotion to senior football.In 1985 Clontarf contested the final of the Dublin Senior Football Championship.  This shows a steady line of development and achievement while the juvenile ranks swelled annually.  The club continues to expand and competes competently at just about all levels of G.A.A. activities in the metropolitan county.   The club functions under a well structured committee system and has as its charter a fully endorsed constitution.

Clontarf G.A.A. club members yearning for a clubhouse is now over.  Members feel that the facility of a clubhouse gives the club that stablity and permanence every club needs.  It helps the club to become even more integrated with the entire community.  It is a base, a centre, a meeting place for all members - juvenile and adult.  It is our home - and everybody needs a home.   Above all a clubhouse provides a better quality club life for players and members.   Over the years we have worked tirelessly to gather funds to provide ourselves with a clubhouse.  From our late illustrious Honorary President, Mr. Sean O'Siochain, Right down the ranks we had willing workers with the ideas, the conviction and the will to tenaciously pursue the clubhouse project.  Fund-raising in earnest began in 1988 and since then we have demonstrated how eager and able we are to generate the amount of funds any club could reasonably asked to contribute to such a project. 

We have shown our versatility by engaging in all fields of fundraising - table quizzes, sponsored walks, raffles (large and small) cake sales, race nights, dances, Christmas draws, flag day collections, programme selling at Croke Park, etc., and when we purchased St. John's House on Seafield Road as a clubhouse premises, it proved our perseverance and determination.

Article by Denis Mc Intyre

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