St James Gaels GAA
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (March 2008)|
|Gael Naomh Sheamais CLG|
|Club colours:||Blue and Yellow|
|Grounds:||Iveagh Grounds & Drimnagh Castle|
St. James Gaels or Gaeil Naomh Shéamais in Irish are a Gaelic Athletic Association club located in Dublin, Ireland. St James Gaels GAA Club was formed in July 1994 as the result of the amalgamation of An Caisleán and Guinness GAA Clubs. Both of these clubs had been in existence for many years but were struggling due to the increasing age profile within their respective base areas. Rather than allow two clubs to go out of existence both sets of club officers agreed, following negotiation, to pool resources with a view to forming one strong unit in an effort to keep Gaelic games alive in Walkinstown and surrounding areas. In hindsight that decision taken in mid '94 has proven to be a correct one.
All the members coming into the new club unit immediately pulled together and brought the best aspects of their parent clubs' into building a better St James's Gaels while remaining true to the ethos that they brought with them. That ethos had been built up over many years as a result of the great efforts of those that founded and kept alive the two clubs in the past.
An Caisleán's roots can be traced back to a couple of weeks' after Dublin's victory over Derry in the 1958 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final. A group of church stewards in Walkinstown Church decided, in the aftermath of Dublin's success, that the newly constituted parish needed its own identity and that a parish GAA Club was an important part in promoting that identity. With the blessing of the parish clergy they formed CLG Naomh Gearóid (St Gerard's) and went on to become a powerful force in the local community.
The people who set up Naomh Gearóid were a very progressive group for that time and quickly purchased a site for a club premises and pitch. That site was situated in what is now the Robinhood Industrial Estate on the Long Mile Road (where Heiton/Buckley's Builders Providers is now) however for various reasons, mainly financial, they were forced to resell the property to pay off their debts.
In 1966 the club, who wished to play their games within the parish boundaries, formed an alliance with the Christian Brothers in Drimnagh Castle CBS schools where they were given use of the school pitches and dressing rooms. As part of this alliance the club members agreed to change their name to An Caisleán and became the club for Brothers, pupils and past pupils of the school, almost all of whom lived in Walkinstown parish.
It is a testament to the strength of that alliance that the club is still, almost forty years on, using the Drimnagh Castle grounds as our juvenile home venue.
During its twenty-eight years of existence An Caisleán had a reasonable degree of success, winning leagues and championships at various grades. The highlights of that period was winning the Intermediate football league in 1987 and being runners-up in the Intermediate football championship in the same year. Another highlight was the junior hurlers reaching the junior championship final in 1979.
Guinness GAA Club's history goes back much further than that of An Caisleán. The first club to represent and win in an All-Ireland (1891) for Dublin was a team called Young Irelands. Young Irelands team and officials were all labourers in Guinness's Brewery and they were the outstanding team in the country in the 1890s winning several All Ireland titles at a time when club champions represented their counties in All Ireland championships.
Young Irelands went out of existence in the early years of the twentieth century and were replaced in the Brewery by a club called Phoenix GFC. This club had limited success during their lifetime before they in turn were replaced in the mid-forties by Guinness Hurling and Football Club who based themselves in the Iveagh Grounds.
That club had some success over the years and competed at senior level in both codes.
Guinness GAA Club, whose membership was confined to employees', and their families, of the Brewery and its associated companies, ran into difficulties as a result of the rationalising of the Brewery operation during the economic downturn in the late eighties/early nineties. This rationalisation drastically reduced the intake of staff members of playing age and forced those running the club to consider winding up their operation or merging with another club.