With six Dublin players placing on the GAA/GPA Opel Football All-Stars team for 2016 – the most of any county – and back-to-back All-Ireland Senior Football Championship wins in the bag, it’s widely accepted that Dublin has some of the best Gaelic footballers in the country. So where are all these phenomenal players coming from? Here are the Dublin GAA clubs you need to know about.
A club serving the southwest of Dublin, Ballyboden St. Endas had much success with their Ladies Senior Football and Ladies Senior Camogie teams throughout the early 2000s, coming home with two All-Ireland, six Leinster and ten Dublin championships for ladies football alone. In recent years though they have been making more headlines for their men’s senior football performance, winning both the Dublin and Leinster Senior Championships in 2015, and earning the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship title for the first time in 2016.
Founded in 1931, St. Vincent’s GAA club can be found in Marino, on the north-side outskirts of Dublin. Current holders of the Dublin Senior Football Championship title, they have won that competition a thoroughly impressive 28 times, including seven wins in a row from 1949 to 1955. They have won the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship three times, most recently in 2014. While best known for their prowess in football, the club has also won the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship 13 times, making it to the finals as recently as 2010.
Castleknock’s senior men’s football team have been working hard. They made it to the final of the Dublin Senior Championship for the first time this year, where they narrowly lost to St. Vincent’s by a mere five-point margin. Fans of Knock as they’re known shouldn’t be discouraged – this team has a lot of potential, even among their youngest players. They won the Dublin Intermediate Hurling Championship in 2015, and their Under 14 Football team won the Féile 2016 title.
Having originated as Cuala Hurling Club in 1918, the Cuala GAA club in Dalkey today has some 1,600 active members, one of the largest in the county. The team won the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship in both 2015 and 2016, and were Leinster Senior Club Hurling Championship runners-up last year. Seven of the 26 players on the current Dublin hurling squad are from Cuala.
Six-time Dublin Senior Hurling champions Kilmacud Crokes haven’t won a major title since 2014, but they made it to the Dublin Senior Hurling Final this October, losing out to Cuala in the final six minutes of the game. This club have also won the Dublin Senior Football Championships seven times in total. This year they beat the team that would go on to become All-Ireland champions, Ballyboden St. Enda’s, early on in the championship, only to be knocked out by St. Jude’s in the quarter final.
The Ballymun Kickhams are named after Charles Joseph Kickham, an Irish writer and revolutionary who was one of the best-known members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. First set up in 1969 – as a merger of two existing clubs – Ballymun Kickhams have won the Dublin Senior Football championship three times, most recently in 2012. That year also saw the team win the Leinster Senior Football Final for the first time. In 2013, they made it as far as the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Final but were ultimately beaten. The top-scoring player in the 2016 All-Ireland Football Championship was Ballymun Kickhams player Dean Rock. Both he and Philip ‘Philly’ McMahon were picked for the 2016 All-Star team.
Na Fianna was born in 1955, when around 200 players departed from the C.J. Kickham club – one of the clubs that later became Ballymun Kickhams – and established Cumann Luthchleas Gael Na Fianna. Since then the club has won the Dublin Senior Football Championship five times, most recently in 2001. Some promising players on their way up might bring that success back – the Minor team won the Dublin Minor Football Championship in 2014, while their Under 21 team were winners of their division championship for three years in a row, from 2011 to 2013. Their Senior Ladies Football team made it to the All-Ireland Final in 2011. Full back of the current Dublin football squad Johnny Cooper hails from Na Fianna.
A club dating back to 1978, St. Jude’s made it to the semi-final of this year’s Dublin Senior Football Championship with their surprise win over Kilmacud Crokes. They’ve also made it to the finals of the Dublin Senior Hurling Championships twice in the last three years, being beaten out by Kilmacud in 2014 and Cuala in 2014. Having come so close to glory so many times, these teams definitely have something to prove.
This south-side club won the Dublin Intermediate Football Championship in 2013, going on to the semi-final of the Leinster Championship. David Byrne of Naomh Ólaf is now a defender for the Dublin Senior Football team. In recent years their female teams have been growing exponentially, with the Ladies Football team taking many accolades and their newly-formed camogie team earning new members.
After winning both the Dublin and Leinster Senior Football titles in 2003, St. Brigid’s went on to win the county club championship again in 2011. The following year they won the All-Ireland Club Senior Football Final. In 2014, they were Dublin champions in Minor ‘B’ hurling and football.