The Kilmacud G.A.A Club was founded in 1959 by a group of parishioners, led by local priests Fr Robert Walsh and Fr Martin Ryan.
The first public meeting took place on February 12th in St Laurence’s Hall, where Stillorgan Shopping Centre now stands. This meeting was called to see what local support there was for the setting up of a G.A.A. Club in the area. Fr. Robert Walsh C.C. (pictured here) presided over the meeting. Fr. Walsh stated that “the time was overdue to provide facilities for boys to play games … to encourage the spirit of nationalism symbolised by the GAA”. About 50 people attended the first meeting and they fully endorsed the idea and asked the founders to report back to a later meeting.
The first General meeting of the club was held on March 12th and attracted an attendance of over 60, where a collection of one shilling per person realised £3.30. Following a proposal it was agreed that the club colours would be a green jersey with white collar and cuffs, white shorts and green socks. These colours were later changed to the more distinct purple and gold, which were the local St Laurence’s School colours. The necessity for a G.A.A. Club in the parish came about because of the great work being done in the local school by teachers Sean Brennan and Michael de Burca.
In its first year, the Club fielded the following teams in Football at U13, U15, U16.5 and Minor, and in Hurling at U13.5, U15 and Junior. In the early years many competitions were won, including U13, U15 and Minor football leagues, U13, and U15 hurling leagues. The Club played their games at various venues in those early years, including the land currently occupied by Kilmacud Church. In 1963 it was decided to purchase a 6.5-acre site behind the Ormonde Cinema as a permanent home for the club, and this was followed in 1965 by the purchase of the adjoining Glenalbyn House.
In 1966, following representation to the committee from parishioners and long time Crokes Hurling Club members, Brendan Power and the late Paddy Leavy, it was agreed to hold discussions with a view to Crokes Hurling Club joining en bloc. This was agreed at a General meeting of both memberships in April.
The Crokes Hurling Club was founded in 1922-23 by Michael Curran, the groundsman in Croke Park and achieved many notable successes down the years, before joining up with Kilmacud. The Crokes had only one team playing in the senior league at the time and, like a lot of single team clubs, were having difficulty attracting players. It was the period when big suburban clubs were starting up and Kilmacud had a very large catchment area to call on. The fact that there was now a senior Hurling club in Kilmacud gave the young players a target to aim for. The merger was an instant success when the club won the Senior Championship that year defeating St Columbas of Crumlin in the final.
In 1972, Benburb Gaelic Football Club from Clonskeagh amalgamated with Kilmacud Crokes. This marked a critical advance in the development of football in the community. The club could now field adult as well as under age teams.
Kilmacud GAA Club changed its name to Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club in 1971. Benburbs Football Club from Clonskeagh, through the good offices of John Sheridan, joined with Kilmacud Crokes in 1972 and provided extra managerial and playing strength to the football side of the club. The Benburbs Club was founded around the middle of the 1880s and the first All Ireland Final was played on their ground at Clonskeagh in 1888.
The Camogie section was started by Eileen Hogan in 1973 with the help of Bunny Whelan and Cora Cregg. Eileen had played for Dublin and won an All Ireland medal in 1955.
The Ladies Football Section was started by John Sheridan in February 1996 and has become a large section of the club in a few short years. They achieved senior status in 2000, when they won the Intermediate Championship and League.
A More Comprehensive recent History Summary of The Club is provided below Kevin Foley who served as Club Chairman for 10 years.
A key strand of Kevin's summary calls out the " Community Club" Focus of Kilmacud Crokes.
Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club has always been much more than a GAA Club for the communities of
Kilmacud, Stillorgan, Mount Merrion, Dundrum, Clonskeagh, Leopardstown and beyond. The Club’s
grounds were purchased with the help of door to door collections and support from Dublin GAA
County Board in late 1950’s and the early 1960’s. The Club immediately set about providing sporting
and other facilities for the entire community. It was the first GAA Club, and still one of only a few
and certainly the only one in the County, to secure approval from the GAA to operate as a
community club rather than solely as a GAA Club.
That structural decision of the members at the very start resulted in the building of tennis courts, a
swimming pool and a hall which provided a multi-sport venue across all of our clubhouse facilities
which was and is available to non-members from across the community. All of these facilities have
been and are heavily used by the entire community. The table tennis club for example provided
training for the boys and girls of Stillorgan who gained a national and international reputation with
many players capped for Ireland and many of whom became winners of European Championships
including Geraldine Leonard and Colum Slevin for example.
Generations of children in the area have seen Glenalbyn as more than just the home of a GAA Club.
Today the Club provides facilities for community groups (including for example residents
associations and the Stillorgan History society) to meet, a café that is relied upon by the entire
community as a convenient venue with free parking for social interaction including by older
members of the community , tennis courts, a Montessori, a venue for pilates classes, slimming clubs,
Irish dancing, South City Church, community art classes, bridge classes, Irish language groups, yoga
classes, a community choir, a venue for a Sunday night winter card school and much more.
The vast majority of these facilities and activities are available to the wider community who are non-
members of the GAA Club. In addition, KC Wheelers is a cycling club with over 100 members who are
men and women from the community who seek a means of maintaining health and fitness into their
70’s in some cases. We provide summer camps for the children of the community (including a core
commitment to inclusion supported by Club provided SNA’s which has resulted in great participation
by children with additional needs) across the Summer months culminating in a mini-All Ireland
festival on our main pitch which over three weeks attracts over a thousand girls and boys to play
Off and on the field we have committed to driving a health and climate conscious / green agenda
with a real commitment to inclusion. That health focus has resulted in our being only the fifth club
nationally to be awarded the status of Healthy Club in 2020 reflecting the drive to support
community health. In 2020 also we became one of only 45 GAA Clubs nationally selected to
participate in phase 1 of the GAA’s Green Club programme. We have been assigned to a transport
sub-group with four other clubs and expert partners – the NTA and the RSA. We hope to work with
the Council on this agenda in 2021.
We have over the last five years initiated the ‘Crokes Talks’ programme which is focussed on mental
health generally in the community and among young men and women in the Club. That programme
has involved repeated running of a six-week mental health and wellbeing programme in the local
boys school in the evenings and delivered by professional psychologists of the HSE. That programme
was initiated and organised by the Club but is open to and widely attended by the community
Our Crokes talks programme also involves regular guest speakers I the Club function room
talking to young men and women from within and without the Club about the wide range of topics
which affect their mental health and wellbeing including substance abuse, gambling, resilience, the
importance of talking to each other, managing stress and pressure in education and sport etc.
In recent years our commitment to community health resulted in a community activity drive –
‘Kickstart Crokes’ - in each January / February / March involving, for example, ‘Couch to 5K walking
and running’, fitness League of Ireland, meditation, set dancing, spin classes, Tai Chi, hill walking,
Gaelic for mothers and others (which runs throughout the year), tennis and the activities of our club
generally. We approved two new policies for our club in 2020 – our Disability and Special Needs
Policy and our Inclusion Policy.
A core principle of our club is the idea that mothers, fathers and family are the sports coaches. Our
coach education programme over recent years has included upskilling in the challenge of inclusion
which has resulted in real confidence among our volunteer coaches, including TY students from local
schools, that they can coach the child before them regardless of ability which is the foundation of
We were active participants in the Community Call programme in 2020 where 175 volunteers caried
out over 2,000 jobs for people across the county who needed support at that time. We became a
smoke and vape free club in 2020 and adopted a substance abuse policy focused on support for
those struggling with substance mis-use.
Over recent years we have hosted a sensory Santa experience which has created a real buzz in the
community and with the help of Santa and the elves this was again delivered incredibly successfully
outdoors in 2020. Our Friday sports club is a volunteer led sports club on Fridays which provides the
concrete realisation of sports participation for people of all ages and all abilities. A lynchpin
ingredient of this community activity is the participation of TY children from local schools as coaches
The above narrative emphasises the fact that we see ourselves as a Community Club working hard to
create opportunities for girls and boys, men and women to enhance their health and well being
through participation at whatever level they are able. At our core of course we are a GAA Club. Our
commitment is to train and educate our volunteer coaches including those who come as adults who
have never been involved in GAA games. That commitment to excellence in coaching has meant that
we do attract huge numbers of small children every year from across the community who want to
come to our club.
We have over 1,000 Garda vetted volunteers who are coaching and interacting with children under
the age of 18.
We have 1,170 girls and women registered as players in our club for 2021. We have worked hard
with all of our local schools to encourage girls to play sport and female participation has been the
fastest growing area of our club in the last decade. Unlike many sports, the sports of camogie and
ladies’ football in our club are witnessing women remaining active in sport into their 20’s and 30’s.
We have committed to the GAA 20:20 programme designed to drive female participation at all levels
of our club including participation as coaches of teams of all genders and all ages and at all decision-
making levels. We have achieved good strong participation of women at executive committee level
in the Club and are committed to maintain progress in this area.
We have 1,727 boys and men and 1,170 girls and women registered to play Gaelic sports in our club
in 2021 and, all in all, approximately 2,000 men and women support the training of teams as
mentors and coaches across the four codes. Our total membership of 5,000 people is a demand
driven reflection of the desire of the community to participate in and support participation in sport.