Kildare GAA

Kildare GAA
Irish: Cill Dara
Province: Leinster
Nickname(s): The Lilywhites
County colours:     
Ground(s): St. Conleth's Park, Newbridge
Conneff Park, Clane
Dominant sport: Gaelic Football
NFL: Division 2
NHL: Division 2A
Football Championship: Sam Maguire Cup
Hurling Championship: Christy Ring Cup
Ladies' Gaelic football: Brendan Martin Cup
Camogie: Kay Mills Cup
Standard kit
Regular kit
Change kit

The Kildare County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), or Kildare GAA, is one of 12 county boards governed by the Leinster provincial council of the GAA in Ireland. The county board regulates Gaelic games in County Kildare and is also responsible for the inter-county teams.


The old Kildare GAA crest, showing oak trees, acorns and lily flower was replaced by the current crest in 2005.

Gaelic games predate recorded sporting history in Kildare. Hurling on Lyons Hill was featured in the Book of Leinster. The Curragh of Kildare was the venue for the fairs and festivals of ancient Ireland called the Aonach Colmáin. Local references to football go back to medieval times. An English traveller, John Dundon, described a hurling match in Naas in 1699. A handball alley near Rathangan bears the date 1790, though the oldest known alley is located near Moone. A match at Timolin in February 1792, resulted in a riot that was reported in local newspapers. There is also a reference to an inter-county match between Kildare and Meath GAA in 1797 which was attended by Lord Edward Fitzgerald. Valentine Lawless, Lord of Cloncurry, describes how Wogan Browne, an 18th-century grandee, lost his Justice of the Peace status for kicking off a football match in the Clane area, also in 1797.

Summer athletics meetings in Kildare predate the GAA. John Wyse Power, then editor of local newspaper The Leinster Leader, attended the foundation meeting of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Thurles in 1884. In February 1885, Sallins GAA, Straffan GAA, Naas GAA and the Suncroft GAA played in the first four football matches governed under new GAA rules.

A county committee was established in 1887. Kildare entered the second championships in 1888 and was represented by Clane GAA. Tommy Conneff from Clane, who went on to hold the world record for the mile, was among the first GAA athletic champions.

Gaelic football

Donegal defeated Kildare in the 2011 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in Jim McGuinness's first season in charge.

Kildare first entered the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 1888, and lost to Dublin by a score of 2–7 to 0–1.

Kildare made a major contribution towards the evolution of rules and tactics in gaelic football. The county was the first to abandon the tradition of playing 21 people on each team, using 16 on each team for a period. Kildare players invented the hand pass: a polished team tactic since 1903; Mick "Micko" O'Dwyer from Kerry is said to have invented it. The toe-to-hand was pioneered by the Roseberry (now Newbridge Sarsfields) club. A team made up of players from the two strongest clubs in the county, Roseberry and Clane, played Kerry three times for the All-Ireland Championship of 1903; the matches drew the first mass interest in a field sport in the country, had an aggregate attendance of 50,000, and were regarded as the games which "made the GAA."

Kildare’s four All-Ireland titles were won between 1905 and 1928: over Kerry in 1905, Galway in 1919, and Kerry again in the 1927 and 1928 finals. Kildare became the first team to win the Sam Maguire Cup in 1928. They haven't won it since.

Tactics such as the hand pass were perfected by those early Kildare teams, but they also developed what became traditional catch-and-kick football. Olympic high jumper Larry Stanley was regarded as one of the greatest fielders in the history of the game, and first winner of the all-time All Star award.

Despite winning a Leinster Senior Football Championship in 1956, reaching the National League final in 1958 and 1968, and winning the All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship in 1965, Kildare footballers seemed to have difficulty maintaining their proud tradition. The county lost six Leinster finals in the twelve years between 1966 and 1978. Although the Raheens club won a Leinster Senior Club Football Championship title in 1983.

In 1991, former Kerry manager Mick O'Dwyer took charge of the county football team. Kildare lost two more Leinster finals to Dublin in 1992 and 1993, as well as the National League final of 1991. When Dublin came back for a draw in 1994 and won the replay, O'Dwyer was succeeded by Dermot Earley for two years. He returned in 1997, and guided the county to victory over Laois with 13 players and a dramatic, twice replayed series of matches with Meath (which they lost) that captured the imagination of the public and steeled the side for further honors.

In 1998, Mick O'Dwyer's status as one of the best GAA managers of all time was confirmed. The Kildare team, previously no-hopers but inspired by his son and fellow Kerryman Karl, became the only team in 110 years of championship football to beat the previous three champions, disposing of Dublin, Meath and Kerry in turn only to lose to Galway in the All-Ireland final; they led by three points at half time. Another Leinster followed in 2000, but Galway defeated them in the semi-final. Leinster Final defeats followed in 2002 and 2003, against Dublin and a Laois side back-boned by their All-Ireland MFC winning sides of the late 1990s. In (2005), Kildare enjoyed mixed success and finished in the top six in the National Football League, but was knocked out of the championship by Sligo.[1]

In 2008 under the new management of Kieran McGeeney Kildare made a bit of unfortunate history by becoming the first team ever to lose a championship game to Wicklow in Croke Park, losing in the first round by 0–13 to 0–9. However Kildares season took a turn for the better after that by beating Cavan, Limerick and Fermanagh in the all- Ireland qualifiers to reach their first ever all-ireland quarter-final. To date in 2009, an improved Kildare side reached the Leinster Final only to suffer a defeat to Dublin. Kildare advanced to the All-Ireland quarter-final to play then All-Ireland champions Tyrone after beating Wicklow only to be knocked out by Tyrone. 2010 saw Kildare lose to Louth in the 2nd round. However Kildare had a great run through the qualifiers beating teams like Antrim, Leitrim, Derry and Monaghan to once again reach the All-Ireland Quarter-final to face Leinster champions Meath which they got a slow start but enjoyed the 2nd half as they ran out winning 2–17 to 1–12. to reach the All-Semi-final for the first time since 2000. On 29 August 2010 Kildare faced Down for the first time ever in the championship which turned out to be a very tense game but Down ran out winners 1–16 to 1–14 after a very frantic finish. 2011 saw Kildare advance to the Leinster semi-final after defeating Meath in the Leinster quarter-final only to be defeated by Dublin.Kildare had a good run in the qualifiers beating teams like Laois, Meath & Derry to advance to the All-Ireland quarter-final to face Ulster champions Donegal which turned to be a very poor performance but the 2nd half was a real contest from both sides with the sides finishing level to drag the game into extra-time only to be defeated by a single point by Donegal.[2]


All Stars

Current football squad

No. Player Position Club
1 Mark Donnellan Goalkeeper Maynooth
2 Ciarán Fitzpatrick Right Corner Back Kilcock
3 Mick O'Grady Full Back Celbridge
4 Ollie Lyons Left Corner Back Celbridge
5 Kevin Murnaghan Right Half Back Moorefield
6 Eoin Doyle Centre Back Naas
7 Emmet Bolton Left Half Back Eadestown
8 Tommy Moolick Midfield Leixlip
9 Paul Cribbin Midfield Johnstownbridge
10 Eoghan O'Flaherty Right Half Forward Carbury
11 Niall Kelly Centre Forward Athy
12 Pádraig O'Neill Left Half Forward St Laurence's
13 Eamonn Callaghan (c) Right Corner Forward Naas
14 Alan Smith Full Forward Sarsfields
15 Cathal McNally Left Corner Forward Johnstownbridge
No. Player Position Club
16 Colin Heeney Substitute Celbridge
17 Peter Kelly Substitute Two Mile House
18 Gavin Farrell Substitute Castledermot
19 Fergal Conway Substitute Celbridge
20 Gary White Substitute Sarsfields
21 Hugh Lynch Substitute Confey
22 David Whyte Substitute Moorefield
23 Mikey Conway Substitute Nurney
24 Mark Sherry Substitute Two Mile House
25 Fionn Dowling Substitute Suncroft
26 Pádraig Fogarty Substitute St Laurence's

Squad as per Kildare v Kerry, 2015 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Quarter Final, 2 August 2015


Kildare participated in the Christy Ring Cup at the inter-county level, reaching the final in 2007 where they were defeated by Westmeath. In recent years, the leading clubs have been Coill Dubh, Éire Óg/Corra Coill, Ardclough and Celbridge. Kildare's youngest club, Confey, became the reigning Senior Hurling Championship in 2007, winning over Coill Dubh in the final.

Kildare hurlers came within minutes of reaching a Leinster senior hurling final in 1976, holding a four-point lead over eventual All Ireland finalists Wexford until the closing stages of the semi-final. That performance earned Johnny Walsh a replacement all-star award. His club, Ardclough, beat Buffer's Alley in the 1976 Leinster club championship.

The county's major hurling successes were four All Ireland Senior B titles (last in 2004), an intermediate All Ireland (1969), and two junior All-Irelands (1962 and 1966). The closest they came to playing in the top division of the hurling league was when they lost a four-point lead in the last ten minutes of a Division 1B promotion play-off against Clare in 1971.

Kildare beat Waterford in the league in two successive years, were tied at half-time against Tipperary in the 1971 National League Quarter-final, and lost to the same team by six points in the quarter-final of 1976. They also lost a promotion play-off against Waterford in 1974.

In 2014, Kildare won the Christy Ring Cup for the first time in their history beating Kerry 4-18 to 2-22 in the final.[4]



Camogie was played in Kildare since the sport was first organised in 1904, although records are sparse. Athy Ladies Hurling Club advertised a members reunion in July 1909. Newbridge, Naas, Blacktrench, Prosperous and Ballymore applied unsuccessfully for affiliation to Kildare GAA board in 1921. Kildare sent delegates to the camogie congress of 1932, and a county board was formed in 1934 with Fr Byrne CC of Caragh as President, Mrs B McCarthy as vice-president, William Fisher of Newbridge as secretary, and Polly Smyth of Newbridge as treasurer. Camogie was reorganized at a county convention in 1954, and has been played in Kildare continuously since.

Kildare's contested the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship semi-final in 1933 and contested the Leinster Senior final in 1939 (which was hosted in Kill), and 1947 at Inchicore. They last competed in the senior championship in 1992 and 1993.

After a series of successes at the junior level, Kildare was defeated by Cork in the National League semi-final of 1992, despite their best performance at senior level. Kildare teams played in navy and white (1930s), brown and white (1955–60) and blue and white (sporadically since the 1960s). White was adopted as the county color in April 1963.

Kildare won the Nancy Murray Cup in 2010,[5] having previously won the Kay Mills Cup in 1987, 1989 and 1990, their best period in the game. They also won the second division of the National Camogie League in 2004.[6] They had previously won the second division title in 1986, 1989 and 1990. Kildare contested senior finals in the Leinster championship, notably in 1939, and Ardclough contested the Leinster senior club final in 1968.

Notable players include Broadford players Miriam Malone, who played from the 1960s to the 1980s and won a Junior Player of the Year award in 1989, Gradam Tailte winner Bernie Farrelly, and scoring forwards Marianne Johnson, and Susie O'Carroll from Celbridge who captained UCD to Ashbourne Cup honours and won a Soaring Star award in 2009. Carbury Johnstownbridge and Celbridge all won divisional camogie honours at Féile na nGael. Joan O’Flynn from Celbridge served as president of the Camogie Association. Gloria Lee refereed the All Ireland senior final of 1963 and John Pender that of 2005.

Under Camogie's National Development Plan 2010–2015, "Our Game, Our Passion,"[7] five new camogie clubs are to be established in the county by 2015.[8]


Kildare Senior Camogie Championship Roll of Honour

For more details on this topic, see here

Ladies' Gaelic football

The Kildare Ladies County Board was set up in March 1992 under the Chairmanship of Catherine Donohoe. At that time there were two clubs playing in the County, Kilcock and Leixlip, and these were joined by the newly formed Eadestown club. Michael Delaney of Leixlip was elected chairman on 10 February 1993.

Kildare's ladies Gaelic football is administered by a separate county board structured as follows (2013 Executive);
Chairman: Arthur Corrigan (Naas)
Vice-Chair: MJ Smith (Carbury)
Secretary: Gillian Dunne (St Laurences),
PRO: Jackie Whelan (Castledermot)
Treasurer: Sharon Dooley(Suncroft)


Kildare Ladies' won the Leinster Junior championship in 2000, beating Laois by 2–13 to 2–5. Kildare contested three All Ireland junior finals before eventually beating Sligo to qualify for senior status in 2004. Grangenolvin dominated club competition in the sport, in which they won five in a row at the time the championship was elevated to senior status. Brianne Leahy became the first female All Star from Kildare in 1999.

Teams of the Millennium

Football Team of the Millennium

Ollie Crinnigan (Carbury), Matt Goff (Leixlip), Pa Connolly (Clane), Glenn Ryan ([Round Towers GAA|Round Towers]), Jack Higgins Naas, Mick Carolan ([Athy GAA|Athy]), Larry Stanley ([Caragh GAA|Caragh]), Pat Mangan (Carbury), Jack Donnelly (Ellistown), Paddy "Boiler" White ([Sarsfield's GAA (Kildare)|Sarsfields]), Larry Tompkins (Eadestown and Castlehaven Cork), Pat Dunny (Raheens), Tommy Carew ([Clane GAA|Clane]), Paul Doyle Suncroft).

Hurling Team of the Millennium

Jimmy Curran (Castledermot), Tommy Burke (Naomh Bríd), Richard Cullen (Ardclough), Seamus Malone (Coill Dubh), Tommy Christian (Ardclough), Pat Dunny (Éire Og), Tony Carew (Coill Dubh), Bobby Burke (Ardclough), Jack O'Connell (Naomh Bríd), Johnny Walsh (Ardclough), Tommy Carew (Coill Dubh), Pat White (Naomh Bríd), Mick Dwane (Ardclough), Mick Moore (Broadford), Mick Mullins (Éire Og).

Camogie Team of the Century

Anna Dargan (Broadford), Geraldine Dwyer (Athy, Prosperous & Clane), Teresa Lynch (Rathcoffey & Prosperous), Bridget Cushen (Celbridge & Ardclough), Nuala Malone (Rathcoffey & Prosperous), Melanie Treacy (Ballyboden St. Endas, Dublin & Bishopstown, Cork), Phyllis Hurst (Broadford), Miriam Malone (Broadford), Eileen Reilly (Rathcoffey & Prosperous), Michelle Aspell (Kilcullen & St Laurence’s), Bernie Farrelly (Crumlin & Broadford), Patricia Keatley (St Laurence’s & Broadford), Marianne Johnson (Prosperous & Clane), Clare Monahan (Naas & Two Mile House), Gloria Lee (Naas).

Managerial history

  • 1905 Joe Rafferty
  • 1919 Joe McDonald (coach)
  • 1958 Mick O'Reilly (coach)
  • 1965 Jim Clarke
  • 1968 Mick O'Reilly (coach)
  • 1972 Frank Murphy (coach)
  • 1974 Pat Mangan
  • 1975 Eamonn O'Donoghue

Kildare club football

Kildare is very much a footballing county, with 105 teams from 45 clubs competing in the Senior and Junior Football Leagues. The highest-achieving club is Sarsfields GAA (Roseberry 'Sons of Sarsfield') who have won a total of 24 titles. Clane won 17; Raheens won 10; Carbury, 11; Round Towers from Kildare Town, 10 (counting three won as Kildare Town and one as St Patrick’s); Naas, 8; Moorefield (Newbridge), 8; Athy, 5; Kilcock, 5; Ellistown, 4 (counting 2 won as Mountrice); Johnstownbridge, 3; Caragh, 3; Monasterevin, 3; Maynooth, 2; and Allenwood, Ardclough, Ballymore, Celbridge, Curragh, Eadestown, Military College, Rathangan, Newbridge CYMS club St Conleth’s (on objection) and St Laurence's won one each. Raheens and Moorefield are the only Kildare sides to win a Leinster club title (in 1981 and 2006).

Kildare Senior Football Championship Finals

(year, winner, score, defeated finalists, score, venue)

(Match played during Irish Civil War, St. Conleth’s awarded title on objection because one of the Caragh players C. McCarthy gave a false name as he was 'on the run' from Free State troops at the time)

County board structure

The Kildare County Board, which meets once a month in St Conleth's Park, is the highest authority within the county. It is responsible for running all adult football competitions, the Under 21 championships, and minor leagues and championships. Every club sends one delegate. There is a separate board responsible for hurling, which is a subsidiary board to the county board.

Juvenile hurling and football is administered by Bord na nÓg which runs Under 14, 15 and 16 competitions. Under 13 and younger grades are separated into a North Board and South Board.

The current Kildare county board is structured as follows:
Chairman: Vice-Chair: John McMahon (Naas)
Full-time secretary: Kathleen O'Neill (Rathcoffey)
PRO: Mary Donnelly (Ellistown)
Treasurer: Martin Whyte (Kilcullen)
Oifigeach Gaeilge: Peadar O Murchu (St. Laurence's)
Hurling Chairman: Eddie Lawlor (Athy)



  2. . RTE. 30 July 2011.
  3. "Jimmy Hyland haul sees Kildare reclaim customary position". Irish Examiner. 13 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  4. Irish Independent, 7 June 2014
  5. 2010 Nancy Murray Cup, Kildare 3–10 Armagh 2–8 in Ashbourne report in Sunday Independent, on and scorers
  6. 2004 Div 2 Kildare 2–11 Laois 2–6 report in Irish Independent
  7. Irish Independent March 29 2010: Final goal for camogie
  8. National Development Plan 2010–2015, Our Game, Our Passion information page on, pdf download (778k) from download site
  9. 2012 Div 3 Final Kildare 1-8 Armagh 0-10

External links

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