Nurney GAA

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An Urnaí
Nurney GAA.jpeg
County: Kildare
Colours: white and green
Grounds: Blackditch, Nurney
Coordinates: 53°06′13″N 6°56′29″W / 53.10364°N 6.94130°W / 53.10364; -6.94130Coordinates: 53°06′13″N 6°56′29″W / 53.10364°N 6.94130°W / 53.10364; -6.94130
Playing kits
Standard colours

Nurney is a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club in Nurney, County Kildare, Ireland. It is the home club of Syl Merrins, the former Chairman of Kildare GAA (2004–2009).


Gaelic Football[edit]

The earliest recorded history of GAA in the area goes back to the turn of the century, Nurney Club was formed in 1912 or 1913 but only lasted 3 years. The main reason for the breakup of the team at this time is believed to have been due to quite a number of the young men of the area going to the First World War. This team wore a white jersey and a green sash and some of the teams they played against in that era were Maddenstown, Kilbern, Narraghmore, Kilrush, Bert, Ballitore and Moone.

In 1915 another Club was formed in the area called Kildoon, Joseph Breen was one of the founders. This team also lasted about 2 or 3 years.

In the early 1930s another team was formed with Eamonn Lawlor being one of the founders. They played their games on the Balkinstown road in Hanleys field. Some of the players at this time were Paddy, Carroll, Thomas Farrell, Pat Cahill and Johnny Ging, the Chairman of the Club was Tim Kelly.

After the break-up of Kildoon in 1940 many players played with a successful Kildangan Team and in 1942 this Kildangan Team won the Junior Championship.

The team which won this championship was as follows:-

  • John Sexton
  • George Sexton
  • Jack Sexton
  • Eamonn Lawlor
  • Paddy Behan
  • Tommy Berns
  • Michael Ryan
  • Johnny Conway
  • Mick Behan
  • Jimmy Behan
  • Tommy Behan
  • John Joe Martin
  • John Merrins
  • Joseph Conlan
  • Bill Broderick

The Kildangan team beat Cappagh in this final of 1942 in the County Grounds in Newbridge. The winners were 1 point behind in the last minute when a goal by Midfielder Hal Conway secured victory. The previous year in 1941 they had been beaten in the final by Ardclough and in 1943 they reached the Intermediate Final also against Ardclough who went on to dominate Senior Football for a number of years later.

Full back Jack Sexton represented Kildare at Senior Level in 1936-37 as did goalkeeper John (Shirty) Sexton around this time. Shirty actually played in the Railway Cup for Leinster around 1937, playing against Munster in Portlaoise.

In 1944 Kildoon were reformed, practising in Allens Field with many of the players returning from Kildangan. They were unsuccessful for a number of years and later played their Matches in Merrins & Deerings field. They again broke up in 1950, reforming again in 1956 under the Chairmanship of Tim Kelly and Con Houlihan as Secretary. This team had a relatively successful run getting to a quarter final one year, a semi-final and in 1958 they reached the Junior Final against Clongorey where they were beaten by 2-4 to 2-3. This team also went three years unbeaten in the league.

In 1964 a meeting was held with the topic on the Agenda being the amalgamation of the Kildoon & Kildangan clubs to form Nurney G.A.A. Club with Sean O’Connor being Chairman and Con Houlihan Secretary. In 1968 it made a major step forward by purchasing a field from the Land Commission, a decision which showed tremendous foresight on the part of men like Con Houlihan, Sean O’Connor & Jack Brennan (RIP). The club purchased the field for £800 and the first trustees were Joe Martin, Sean O'Connor, and Jack Brennan, the ownership was vested in them and later in the GAA, Croke Park. The young Club had now its own home and the emphasis was now placed on the playing end of things. Success would not arrive for a number of years. 1975 saw the commencement of the G.A.A. Centre and Dressing Rooms, with this complex being officially opened in 1978 with a game between Kildare and Offaly marking the opening. This period also marked an upturn in the fortunes of the Club with many underage players winning championships with Rosglas and the Junior Team reaching the final stages of the Championship. Nurney reached the Semi-Final of the Championship in 1978, 1981, & 1983.

The first final was reached in 1980 when Nurney was beaten by 2 points in a replay to an Eadestown team containing Larry & Joe Tomkins and Dave Kavanagh. In 1982 another final was reached more heartbreak as Celbridge beat the Nurney men by a single point. Spirits were not dampened by these defeats and numerous Tournaments were won during this period, also a League Title in 1980, Nurney gaining revenge over Eadestown for the Championship defeat.

1984 saw another final being reached and this time Nurney made no mistake beating hot favourites Straffan by 13 points. Nurney continued on their winning ways that year beating Clogherinkoe in the final of the Jack Higgins Cup by 2 points after a replay.

Nurney were now an Intermediate side and 1985 saw them reach the Semi final of this Championship only to be beaten by Suncroft after another replay. The Club continued in the Intermediate Championship up to 1989 without success and in 1990 they returned to Junior Ranks.

Many Nurney players have worn the White Jersey of Kildare over the years, with Pat Deering winning a Leinster U-21 medal in 1972. Syl Merrins winning a Leinster U-21 medal in 1983, a Leinster Junior Medal in 1989, and an O’Byrne Cup” Medal with the Seniors in 1989. In 2004 William Heffernan won an Leinster Under 21 title. Eddie Molloy and Seamus Deering have won All-Ireland medals with the over 40’s team in 1990 and 1991. Others to represent the County have been John Conway, Pat Burke, Pat Smullen, Francis Byrne, and Darren Byrne, Patrick Hannon and Neil Houlihan and Andrew Behan. For the past few years Michael Conway and William Heffernan have been ever present on the Kildare senior Football panel helping Kildare to an All Ireland Quarter Final, Semi Final and Leinster Final in recent years under the management of Kieran McGeeney.

An emphasis has been placed on youth over the last few years, with some promising players coming through the minor and U-16 teams and winning numerous titles with school teams at U-11 & U-13 grades.

In 2001 Nurney Camogie Club was reformed and now has almost 100 members catering for girls from under 9 to under 14. In 2005 a junior Camogie team entered competition for the first time in 30 years and this year also Nurney won Under 11 Camogie titles in both Club and schools competitions.

In 2006,in a return to winning ways, the senior team won the Junior A championship and Division 3 league title beating Straffan and Grange respectively. The team was Paul Conway, Leslie Broughall, Brian Behan, Keith McCormack, Derek Bracken, Darren Byrne, Robert Behan, Willie Heffernan, Eoin Merrins, Pa Joe Hannon, Patrick Higginbotham, Paddy Sexton, Andy Behan, Mikey Conway, Murt Conway.

In 2014 Nurney won the Division 3 league title while also gaining promotion to Division 2. They beat Suncroft in the final 0-13 to 1-6 in St Conleth's Park, Newbridge. The team was Shaun Conway, Keith McCormack, Brian Behan, Robert Behan, Rory O'Donoghue, John Merrins, Ciaran Callan, Willie Heffernan (0-2), Darren Byrne (0-2), Michael Conway (0-5 3fs), Steven Conway, Kevin Callan, Brian Cahill (0-4 1f), Andrew Behan, Martin Conway.

The growth in population in the Nurney area has seen a huge increase in the participation of people in our Club. Our pitch and G.A.A. Centre are used on a continuous basis and is a focal point for the community.


Nurney were one of the first participants in the Junior B Hurling championship.


In the early days of Nurney camogie the club was known as St Judes, a set of accounts (one page) exists for a year in the 1930s. This is a very important document as it suggests a committee and a formal structure was in place. Such a formal set up in those years was a precursor for the well organised club that exists today. Margaret Deering (now Sexton) of Nurney scored 1-1 for Kildare in the Leinster Junior/Smyco Cup final victory over Meath in 1967. In 2001 Nurney Camogie Club was reformed and now has almost 100 members catering for girls from under 9 to under 14. In 2005 a junior Camogie team entered competition for the first time in 30 years and in 2005 also Under 11 Camogie titles in both Club and schools competitions. Since then a number of underage competitions have been secured including Senior Schools titles in 2009 and 2010. In 2010 also the club won the Junior C Championship, Under 21 B & Minor B Championship (amalgamation with Moorefield). The following have played at intercounty level for Kildare since the clubs reformation. Under 14- Ciara Merrins, Tara Fahey, Ali O'Brien, Áine Bagnall, Sinéad Hagney. Under 16 - Claire Reilly, Phillippa Cains, Lorna Merrins, Aoife Dowdall, Ciara Merrins, Paula Lambert, Laura Furlong, Louise Higginbotham. Minor - Lorna Merrins, Ciara Merrins, Sophie Fleming, Amy Scanlan

Ladies Football[edit]

In 2007, a ladies football club was formed - Kildangan/Nurney. The club now have teams from Under 10 to Senior level. The success of the underage section of the club in the early years proved beneficial for the senior team in 2012 when they won the Junior D Championship. They followed this success winning a League title in 2013. The club have been represented at county level at all grades, with Lara Gilbert captaining the Kildare U16 team in 2016 and Sabrina Kennedy named as Minor Vice-Captain.


Nurney is one of the few clubs where handball has been played continuously. The first alley in Nurney was erected in Kildoon, beside a road that no longer exists; joining Kildoon to Nurney via the Sweeps Lane. It is believed that the Kildoon handball alley was built in the late 1700s and local folklore has it that it was built by men involved with the United Irishmen movement and its erection was used as a front for meetings, a practice that was banned at the time. In the middle of the 1930s a new alley was built on the Nurney end of this lane, in front of Nurney school. The building was of mass concrete and the builders were the young men of the area among whom were Tommy O'Brien, Ned Hyland, P Boland. Tommy O'Brien was a formidable athlete and was a well known handballer. He represented Kildare at junior level as an individual and with Ned Hyland as his doubles partner won many an intercounty match.


  • 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]