Super Club solutions/club boundaries

strong textSome of these clubs are taking from 10 to 12 schools so there is an obvious need for new clubs in the area. I was talking to a parent from Crokes a number of weeks ago and he was telling me that they played a blitz for u8 or u9s against another club possibly boden or Culala and that they each had 120 hurlers at that age group. While that to me is brilliant to have so many kids playing it just struck me that the amount of kids they will probably lose in the future due to the expansion of the club and possibly the loss of a community fee. You will have children who are probably good enough not getting a chance to play on the best team.
The solution?
Dividing big clubs into 2
Dividing clubs into two and sharing the same facilities…so for example if Crokes was split from say stillorgan village and boden from the knocklyon road with kids from either side of these splits playing with different clubs. The facilities would need to be shared but I am sure there is enough people in these clubs with enough brains to make things work. The benefits for kids and Dublin would be more kids being exposed to a higher level of gaa and the clubs having more of a community feel to them.
County board boundaries
Try to introduce a sort of boundary so that each club has enough feeder schools to compete. Some clubs may have 12 other clubs have 1 that doesn’t make any sense to me.
Bigger clubs supporting the smaller clubs
If there was better communication some of the super clubs who have huge number could organise with smaller nearby clubs who are struggling for number to transfer players who are in close proximity to the smaller clubs.
Formation on new clubs
Much harder to do in the present climate without the land. Obviously though this is the ideal situation.

Any other possibilities?

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Ideally you would look at (1) some of the old clubs that had amalgamated many years ago to see if there was potential to split and (2) The establishment of new schools. Eg. Dundrum/ Churchtown merged into St Olaf’s. But there are plenty of kids in Churchtown, Windy Arbour etc to set up up a new club. There’s a new Gaelscoil in Churchtown where a club could be based. They have an all weather hockey pitch which would be perfect for a nursery. However land for bigger pitches is a big issue and there has to be an appetite. Shankill GAA and Na Gaeil Oga are good examples of where this has happened.

Agree on the schools situation. Who is it that organises a gpo to go into a school is it the club or the county board? As you say its easier to get underage going because you need less space. I wonder about the idea then of setting up underage teams in certain gaa black spots which may have potential and then amalgamating at senior and using school pitches when the club has adult teams. Say for example the likes of ranelagh gaels its hard to see where they will have senior pitches/a home when the fruits of all the good underage work come to bare in a few years.

That’s how St Vincent’s were set up back in the 30s. They were a feeder club into Parnells. A lot of county clubs use that model. As for Ranelagh Gaels I believe their adult football team play out of Bushy Pk and they are trying to get into the Rathmines Barracks which is used by Portobello who have 3 adult teams. Their camogie team play out of Phoenix Pk. This used to be because the local residents objected to hurling / camogie. Not sure if this is still the case.

I never knew that. What i do know is that there is a gigantic area of south Dublin that have no gaa club(churchtown being one as you pointed out) and that it would be fantastic to see the likes of Ranelagh gaa getting a home. One club that surprises me a bit in that it doesn’t seem to maximise its potential is clan na gael. They are right beside some of the wealthier areas in Dublin in which a number of ‘‘rugby’’ schools got to schools finals in croke park a number of weeks ago yet they seem to struggle with numbers in certain age groups. They actually have great pitches and facilities so maybe in the future they may get more kids in from these areas.

While I agree, St Olaf’s would most likely argue that they cover Churchtown. However I suspect Ballinteer SJ pick up most of the kids in that area. Clan na Gael were always focused in Ringsend and Irishtown. Their pitches used to be in bits and the grass in Ringsend Park was rarely cut to a decent standard. From recollection they used to pick up players from schools in Baggot St and Westmoreland St. and Marion College amongst others. They have definitely grown in recent years, probably because they have tapped into Sandymount etc. Upgrading their pitches might have helped in some small way. The key to their recent growth (like any club) is better organization and coaching structures etc. I was speaking to a member who was very involved in their juvenile section in recent years and he mentioned that a big challenge was competing with rugby, as a result of expanding into the more affluent areas, which wasn’t an issue in the past. They key ingredient for a new club is appetite from parents etc. While Dublin GAA are supportive of new clubs I don’t believe they are proactively / strategically targeting black spots. If they were they would be helping the likes of Kevin’s tap into the south inner city in hurling and encouraging them to start up football or merge with a football club. They would also have been promoting strategic amalgamations like Templeogue and Faughs, Synge St PP and Portobello and/or Kevin’s etc.

How many clubs are they sandwiched between?

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Ha nicely played. Fixed that for ya.

After reading how some clubs particularly in the city centre arent being catered for. I wonder would it be possible to introduce a boundary system where by every area in the city has an allocated club… I realise there will be crossover further out but surely with the size of the north i inner city the like of o connell boys should have a big pick of kids.

Traditional parish / living boundaries don’t work in Dublin. However, assigning schools within geographical clusters would make sense. A good example of this would be the Templeogue and Synge Street Clubs that merged but come from 2 different areas. Having said that TSS focus on their Templeogue base and don’t work in the south inner city. However, this creates a different problem as they are restricting others from promoting football In the area, due to their traditional link. There may already be informal arrangements in place.

Well I suppose the county board and I wouldn’t be an expert on what they are doing already could do more to help out clubs with potential by getting gpo’s into schools who don’t have club links already and get the gpos to link them up with the clubs. I think schools differ…some schools desperately need gpos and other schools probably have enough teachers in schools who are interested in promoting the games. I don’t see the need for gpos going into gaa mad schools and spending the same amount of time going into places that really need them getting kids into nearby clubs.

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Did realt dearg play out of bushy Park? They play in drimnagh castle now? Who else plays there?

Not sure if they ever played in Bushy. They initially played out of Thomas Davis Grounds. Currently play in Drimnagh Castle. They trained in a few locations including Terenure VEC. Ranelagh Gaels and Templeogue Synge St play in Bushy.

St James Gaels/ An Caisleann use Drimnagh Castle, but they cater for a different catchment area.

… and a different sport?

St James Gaels/ An Caisleann have underage hurling.

A recent occurrence?

I think so… the oldest hurling team they have is Under 13. Not sure if they have much under that… I think the next team might be under 11 and/under 9? They have also started camogie. Fair play to them. They are sandwiched in between and overlap with Good Counsel and Crumlin. They also have Kevin’s to contend with now that they’ve got the hurling up and running.


This is great to hear. Fair play.

Yes great to see. Makes sense as most football clubs have taken up the small ball. They are probably loosing potential players to Counsel and Crumlin because they don’t play hurling. I think there’s a few hurlers involved too who want their kids playing. They are also under pressure with pitches as TCD just bought Iveagh Grounds and Realt Dearg are using their other pitches in Drimnagh Castle.

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