Story of Ardclough GAA (1986)

THE OLD ARDCLOUGH FOOTBALL CLUB (from the Jubilee Year commemorative booklet, Oct 5 1986)

Johnny O'Grady opening the gate of the new GAA field at Ardclough

Johnny O’Grady opening the gate of the new GAA field at Ardclough

When the present Ardclough Football Club was founded in 1937 the records show that during the 1920s the area had a football team. In a meeting which was held in Mick Tracey’s workshop, it was decided to field a team in Kildare competition. Jim Norton was elected secretary while John Mahon who is still hale and hearty was chosen to be the club’s County Board representative. Other members of the committee were Mick Tracey, Jim Maguire, Jim Tancred and Bill Timpson. A playing field was provided by Lord Cloncurry.

However, the land on which the pitch was situated was taken over by the Land Commission in 1932 and this resulted in the disbandment of the club, and for the period that followed until 1937 there was no team, with players from the district dividing their loyalty between neighbouring clubs. But Ardclough’s greatest days were still to come.

THE PRESENT-DAY ARDCLOUGH FOOTBALL CLUB

In the mid-thirties the late Father James O’Brien. PP Kill decided to sponsor an under-fourteen football team in the Ardclough district of the parish, and thus the foundations of it great tradition of allegiance to our native games were solidly laid.

For some years there had been no club in Ardclough: indeed the footballers of the area were forced to join neighbouring clubs and as a result it wits it common sight to see brothers compete against each other with different teams.

The people of the area with strong leanings towards the GAA discussed this sad situation and they agreed that an effort should be to provide Ardclough with a football and the late Dan Graham, Johnny O’Grady were the first people to consider the formation of a football club.

A meeting was called of all interested and this historic gathering took place in the work rooms of Lyons, kindly made available by another fine Gael. Mick Treacy.

What a difficult task confronted this hand of football enthusiasts. No pitch, except the Mill one given by the late Hon Kathleen Lawless. No jerseys, no football. no funds. After a long discussion it was finally agreed that a club would be formed if all those thing were available before January 1937. And they were and so the Ardclough we know today was founded affiliating a junior side. The first Chairman was Michael Treacy. Dan Graham became its Treasurer. while Johnny O’Grady was elected Secretary.. a position he was to hold with great devotion and efficiency for over it quarter of it century.

Dan Graham. until his death, was another very loyal member and his passing after twenty-six years an officer wits a huge loss to his colleagues and friends. Go ndeana Dia Trocaire ar a anam.

Johnny O’Grady continues to he one of the guiding lights behind the club. while at County Board level he has acted on various committees. including selection. finance, fixtures and disciplinary. and for some years now he has been elected in successive years as one of Kildare’s delegates to the Leinster Council.

As Secretary of the Club. He was succeeded by the present occupant of the post, the indefatigable worker, Paddy O’Connor, who, despite a schedule which sees him actively associated with many voluntary organisations in the area, still finds time to combine the position with that of Hurling Club Secretary.

Ardclough Kildare senior  football champions 1949

Ardclough Kildare senior football champions 1949

During their existence the footballers have had their good and bad times, but the continuity of turning out a football unit as always been maintained Every championship and league from minor up has been won, but all will agree that their finest hour was in September 1949 when, against all the odds, they captured the most coveted trophy of all, the Senator Cummins Cup, by winning the Kildare Senior Football Championship.

Adding to their great victory was the fact that the team they beat in the final (after a drawn game) was the Army, each member a inter-county star and the side itself considered to be the best ever to represent the National Army.

Interesting facts about the club

Ardclough chairmen down the years: Michael Treacy, Leonard Cullen, Jim Maguire, Tom Meaney, Frank Graham, John Farrell, Tommy Christian, Andy Christian and Jack Molloy.

Ardclough footballers who have played for Kildare: D. Graham, B. O’Connor, W. Bergin, F. Graham, J. Farrell, the Burke brothers, Anthony, Christy and Artie; W. Cullen, M. Conroy, D. Molloy, J. Christian, Tom (“Tucker”) Maguire, L. Cullen, T. Christian, D. O’Connor and C. O’Connor.

Departed members who in past years rendered great service to the club were Rev. Fr. James O’Brien, P.P., Rev. Fr. Stephen McNally, C.C., Daniel Graham, John Colgan, Patrick Nolan, Patrick O’Connor, Joseph Norton, Peter Christian and Leonard Cullen.

Ar Dhels Dé go ralbh a nanamacha.

ARDCLOUGH HURLING CLUB

WHILE the Ardclough Hurling Club is of later vintage than the football unit, nevertheless it can look back with great pride not only on its own achievements, which are many, but on the contribution it has made to the promotion of Ireland’s most ancient game in the short grass county.

Founded in 1948, its first Chairman was Laois man Mick Houlihan, while its founder Secretary was Kilkenny native Mick Johnson, Mick was to emerge as one of the county’s leading hurling officials, a man of great integrity and foresight who was to play his part in leading Kildare from the obscurity of being unconsidered to eventually take its place amongst the hurling elite of the country. On different occasions he acted as hurling chairman and was the central figure in establishing a strong bond of co-operation with the parent County Board.

Hurling team of 1975

Hurling team of 1975

A year after their foundation Ardclough won the Junior Hurling Championship, a title they added in 1954 and 1959. Several other competitions were won in the intervening years, but their crowning moment of glory came in 1968 when, after successive years of disappointment, they took their first Senior Championship when they scored a memorable win over their old rivals, Eire Og. The number one competition was again attained in 1973 and 1975-Eire Og the victims in ’73, while Suncroft were the clearcut losers in 1975.

In Kildare’s wonderful achievements of the last decade or so, which included two Junior All-Irelands, an Intermediate All-Ireland and a Senior B title, men from the club played a major part

The brothers Colm and Kieran O’Malley, the brothers Johnny and Ned Walshe, Tommy Christian, Mick Dwane, Johnny Dunne, Leonard and Richard Cullen, Denis Dalton, Mick Johnson, Mick Bermingham, Dom Maguire, John Cummins, Paddy Gleeson, Der and Cha O’Connor, Bobby and Noel Burke, Olly Kenny and Seamus Butler. Indeed Bobby Burke had the honour of captaining Kildare to its historic Intermediate All-Ireland title win in 1969, while the Connors, Cha and Der, with Tommy Christian, were dual code winners of All-Ireland titles.

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