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Class and Dublin GAA June 27, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

Michael Carley put this link up earlier in the What You want to say thread…
Is Dublin GAA in danger of leaving the working class behind?

I think the answer is more a case of the GAA getting organised in South Dublin. ….. and also probably more importantly getting involved with the Primary Schools. In what is now Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council there are 4 main clubs Kilmacud, Cuala, Ballinteer St Johns and Naomh Olaf. There is also Geraldines Morans in Foxrock, Stars of Erin in Glencullen and Foxrock Cabinteely (which are ladies football). In my own School days there was no GAA in the National School, these days Kilmacud are involved in that school. Kilmacud would have had maybe one or two schools locally feeding into it, now they have a catchment area that would include all the housing in Leopardstown, Blackrock, Stillorgan, Mount Merrion and so on. Cuala have a catchment area from Monkstown/ Dun Laoghaire to Bray.
On the opposite side you have all the clubs that are close to the Malahide Road, Na Fianna, Whitehall, Craomh Ciaran, Parnells, St Vincent’s, O’Tooles and so on. They probably all exist within the same catchment area size as Cuala or Kilmacud. I also think that certain schools on The Northside would have been bastions of GAA and long after the Ban only allowed GAA. Their role in development of players has possibly declined.
From U14 to Minor Kilmacud (and Ballyboden) are the only clubs to have teams in the top Division at each age grade. So players from those teams will develop playing against better opposition.
Dublin have Development squads from U13 up. This could involve one or two training sessions or a match during the week. Not everyone finds it easy to be in Blanchardstown at 6.30 every Tuesday. There is also a lot of politics as to who makes the squad.
The emergence of many gaelscoileanna has also helped the spread of GAA to non traditional areas in Dublin.
The almost full time nature of Inter County sport also means that many of the players spend extended time in Third Level and have careers in teaching or careers in areas where they are almost working as ambassadors for companies. The class thing does come in here.
As for the setting up of new clubs, it’s very difficult without County Board Backing. Clubs may not be too pleased with a new club being set up in their catchment area. There is also a limited amount of pitches. Most new clubs in Dublin have tended to be from Splits.
As for Soccer and Rugby, both offer careers that GAA don’t really. Certainly my own club at my sons age group has lost a number of players to Rugby and Soccer. At a certain age if lads are good at certain sports they would have to make a choice if say they were aiming for the Leinster Academy in the Rugby or trials abroad in the Soccer. Some sports actually have players sign ‘contracts’ that they won’t play any other sports.
Then there is the volume of players playing in Dublin. You’d want to be brilliant to be noticed. Again Third Level competition comes in here as a showcase for players.


1. 6to5against - June 27, 2017

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years traipsing around with underage football teams – first with the GAA and then with soccer. I would have to say that from my experience, the GAA Is phenomenal. Wonderful facilities, most of which are undergoing seemingly constant improvement, huge parental involvement, endless opportunities to play for both boys and girls. With soccer, we almost always play on council pitches and rarely see a clubhouse. Parental involvement is minimal and the girls team struggles to get a game at its own level.

I don’t think the GAA is leaving any demographic behind. I would say that like every sport they are too inclined to focus on the stars and let some of the quieter kids drift away. But even there, I would say they’re generally a bit better.


6to5against - June 27, 2017

And don’t get me started on hoovering up sponsorship….


irishelectionliterature - June 27, 2017

Certainly at underage the lack of continuation in Soccer is incredible. Players switching teams every year and so on.
Now the strictness of the GAA Transfer policy does have it’s downsides but it also allows for a child to play with roughly the same group of boys/girls all the way up the ages. Thats very good for their social circle.
Regarding participation, I’ve been involved with various hurling/Camoige B and C teams where we had players that weren’t brilliant, lost most of their matches but stuck with it as they all got to play and they were a lovely group (too nice in fact)


6to5against - June 27, 2017

Its great for their social circle, IEL, and great to hear. And I know from other conversations on here, that you’ve played your part in keeping that sort of atmosphere going.

My experience is that I joined in to do a bit of coaching just to help one team survive, because I really admired how encouraging they were of every kid, regardless of their skills. And we’ve kept that team together for a few years, of which I’m very proud. But with the soccer structures, we are forced into more and more competitive leagues, where we are faced with the choice of playing everybody equally and getting hammered or massaging that a bit and trying to get the odd win or draw.

It seems either way we are doomed. We either lose the stronger players who will want to move on to a higher standard, or the weaker players who’ll drift off having learned their place in the world. It sucks. The league we’re dealing with has something like 80 teams in each year group pre-teen, and about 20 in the u18. Its not hard to see why.

You get a bit of that in every sport, but it does seem to me that the GAA is better at dealing with it, and that soccer is really only interested in trying to find the stars and move them on. To no-existent ‘careers’….

But I still love it down there on a Sunday morning. That’s sport for you.


2. roddy - June 27, 2017

Soccer clubs up here have young players who also play GAA at underage level and they will admit that they are mightily impressed at how the GAA involves the community in a way that they cant compete with.A GAA club can avail of literally hundreds of volounteers that no other sporting body can match.


3. Shea - June 27, 2017

Brilliant article in the independent at Christmas briefly touches on this. puts strength of local clubs in middle class areas down to side line support.



4. Joe - June 27, 2017

Saw this thread title and I thought: Yes, Dublin GAA is class. Three-in-a-row here we come.

Liked by 2 people

5. Jim Monaghan - June 27, 2017

Perhaps those who are parents could help. What is the comparative cost of a week of GAA for a kid compared to a soccer week. I know down the country a weeks GAA school is far cheaper.


irishelectionliterature - June 27, 2017

Club Membership for myself, my daughter (13) and son (17) is 250 I think. Decent value given the amount of time we all spend at it. I know too if there are ‘money difficulties’ with regard to membership fees people will be looked after.
I’ve heard some crazy figures for some soccer clubs which would in part go back to lack of facilities. Hiring All Weather pitches on an ongoing basis isn’t cheap.


6to5against - June 27, 2017

I cant quite compare like-with-like, but I think we’re paying almost double in the soccer what the local GAA looks for. And with the GAA there seems to be no end of free kits handed out to kids aswell. We have none of that. A huge amount of the difference is down to facilities – certainly nobody is getting rich off of it in either club.


6. GearóidGaillimh - June 27, 2017

If you want to find GAA-playing proletarians, head to Down. Their anarcho-syndicalist politics is reflected in the county colours, after all..

Liked by 2 people

7. Joe - June 27, 2017

Just on the topic. It ain’t black and white by any means. But it is a very interesting topic. Growing up in Kilbarrack in the sixties and early seventies we laughed at GAA as a culchies game. Then Dublin won in ’74 and the fickle mob changed tack. Some people in Kilbarrack set up Naomh Barróg GAA club in 1974 and it flourished and most of its players came from the Kilbarrack working class.
The stuff in the article about private-school past pupils playing for the Dubs now is true. A generation ago they would have been very few if any. But then the boys who went to the Christian Brothers and played for Dublin (or for their local GAA club) went on to ‘do well’ and sent their sons to the private schools. Bryan Cullen, the Dublin captain in the 2011 all-Ireland winning team, was a Belvedere boy.
Personally I don’t care whether lads are playing soccer or GAA. I draw the line at rogger though (only joking, sort of).


WorldbyStorm - June 27, 2017

Growing up in Kilbarrack in the 70s (!) it’s interesting given I was a hop and a skip behind you Joe and I vividly remember how highly thought of GAA was by the mid 70s (and then the Dublin team in 1975 brought around the Sam Maguire etc…) but it was always more or less in tandem with soccer so clearly the popularity of both were on an upward curve and I remember people tended to be fans of both (though I also seem to recall a sort of disdain for soccer from teachers in NS at the time).


8. roddy - June 27, 2017

Club membership locally is 20 quid a head (it was 10 just a few years ago) and I can say without any doubt whatsoever that I do not know of a single “private school” player anywhere in the 6 occupied counties!


Joe - June 27, 2017

Yep. We fought and won the freedom to send our sons to private schools and play GAA.


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