Ballykelly GFC

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Ballykelly
Baile Uí Cheallaigh
Ballykelly GAA.jpeg
Founded: 1953
County: Kildare
Colours: Maroon and White
Grounds: Highbridge, Ballykelly, Lackagh, County Kildare
Coordinates: 53°09′25″N 7°03′11″W / 53.157°N 7.053°W / 53.157; -7.053Coordinates: 53°09′25″N 7°03′11″W / 53.157°N 7.053°W / 53.157; -7.053
Playing kits
Standard colours

Ballykelly Gaelic Football Club is a Gaelic football based Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club in County Kildare, Republic of Ireland, north of Monasterevin. Following the progress of many modern GAA clubs, they field teams from U6 to senior in both ladies' and men's football.

History[edit]

Football Club[edit]

The present-day club was founded in 1953. At their inaugural meeting, the room was packed to capacity, such was the interest aroused, and they immediately began fundraising. They started to train in An Cullen's field in Borraderra and so intense was their interest in the game that they even trained on Christmas Day.

With the dedication to duty it was not surprising that the fledgling club made an enormous impact and in the first year 1953 won the junior "B" Championship. They went on to win the Intermediate Championship in 1955 and again in 1960 - two major trophies in the space of five years - a feat many clubs have not achieved in their entire history. They have gone on to win the Junior "A" Championship in 1974, the Intermediate in 1975 and the Under 16 Championship in 1989, as well as the junior League Division 2 in 1972, the Senior League Division 2 in 1974 and 1978 and the Under 16 League in 1988. Between Ballykelly and Monasterevin during the 1970s almost every major Gaelic football honour came to the town.

Ladies' Football[edit]

The Ballykelly girls' Under 14 team was registered in the spring of 1994, twenty years after the first All Ireland ladies' football final was played. The squad consisted of 21 players in an age group from 10 to 14. The squad comprised players who came from families who supported all three clubs in the parish.

The teams prospered in their first year and the following season saw six of the players called up for county teams. The team's success continued for a further year drawing fresh players from all over the parish but by in 1996 the successful run was over, partly due to the original squad becoming older. However, some of the girls did continue playing for the boys' team.

In 1997 an amalgamation between Ballykelly and Athgarvan was arranged, meaning that some players were now representing Ballykelly on the boys' panel and Athgarvan with the ladies' team. During this season two of the players, Maire Dowling at centre half forward and Margeret McCormack in goal, contributed to the capture of the county shield with the under 14 boys' team and the club was also being represented at intercounty level by several of the girls.

In 1999 saw the formation of an Under 12 team and the reformation of the Under 14 team; in 2001 a Senior Ladies' team was formed.

Grounds[edit]

The club purchased its first pitch in 1982 next to the Highbridge and developed it as money became available. The pitch and club rooms were opened on 16 October 1983 by Hugh Campion, former Chairman of Kildare County Board. The facilities were updated after that with the addition of new dressing rooms and showers.

In 2005 the club embarked on another major development plan to keep up with the growth in the local population and purchased 17-acre (69,000 m2) in the townland of Ballykelly. This new development was completed and officially opened on 16 May 2010 and consists of two adult size all-weather pitches, one floodlit and one juvenile pitch, two astro-surfaced training pitches, a sports hall, ladies' and men's dressing rooms, meeting rooms and car parking for 350 cars. The facility was named as Kildare Grounds of the Year for 2010.

Gaelic Football[edit]

Monasterevin beat Ballykelly in a legendary Junior A final in 1954 for which a special train was run to Newbridge. The prolific scoring of Seamie Harrison, who scored seven points for Kildare in the 1956 Leinster Senior Football Championship final, helped the club win Intermediate titles in 1955 and 1960. Tom Fitzgerald spearheaded the club's resurgence in the 1970s, beating Johnstownbridge 1-9 to 1-7 to win the 1974 junior final and, beating Rathangan by 3-6 to 2-8 in a replayed final to become intermediate champions a year later in 1975. The club endured something of a lean spell up until 2000 when they annexed the Junior B title, their first championship in 25 years.

Honours[edit]

  • Intermediate champions 1955, 1960, 1975
  • Junior A champions 1974. 2007
  • Jack Higgins Cup 2007
  • Junior B champions 1953. 2000
  • Senior League Div 2 1974, 1978.
  • Junior League Div 2 1974.
  • Minor B champions 2007 (St Evins Gaels)
  • U16 Champions 1989
  • U 16 A Shield 2007 (St Evins Gaels)
  • U14 Board na Og Shield 1997
  • Ladies' Junior champions 2005
  • Ladies' Senior League Div 2 2004
  • Ladies' U 16 champions 2005
  • Ladies' u 15 champions 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Ladies' Senior League Div 3 2008
  • Ladies' minor champions 2008
  • Ladies' Junior A champions 2010
  • Kildare best club grounds 2010
  • U15 boys' league 2010

Bibliography[edit]

  • Kildare GAA: A Centenary History, by Eoghan Corry, CLG Chill Dara, 1984, ISBN 0-9509370-0-2 hb ISBN 0-9509370-1-0 pb
  • Kildare GAA yearbook, 1972, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 2000- in sequence especially the Millennium yearbook of 2000
  • Soaring Sliothars: Centenary of Kildare Camogie 1904-2004 by Joan O'Flynn Kildare County Camogie Board.

External links[edit]