Annual Report


The subject of Dublin’s games development grants is another crude device used by some to try and devalue the achievements of Dublin’s senior footballers this decade, those who want to engage in some alt-history of this decade.

The money Dublin has received has been invested in our Games Development programme solely at nursery and juvenile level. Our Go Games programme alone, over the last 10 years, has seen a participation growth of 58% in football and 98% in hurling and 11,500 fixtures scheduled annually for children in the Under 8 to Under 12 age groups.

Massive numbers attend nurseries the length and breadth of the county on a weekly basis. The focus is on enjoyment, fun and introducing young boys and girls to Gaelic games and their local clubs, while also trying to strengthen the link between the local primary schools and the clubs.

Many stay and enjoy great years with their local club, while others, unfortunately are lost to the game, concentrating eventually on other pursuits.

However, to draw a simple straight line, some linear equation, directly connecting this investment at nursery/juvenile level and the success of Dublin’s senior footballers years later is inaccurate.

I have read articles using the figures of adult players in the capital to suggest that the grants have been invested in our adult games and indeed directly towards our senior footballers and hurlers. This is untrue and at best is mischievous.

We all learned to join the dots in the early years of primary school but we didn’t all make it to the status of artists like Jack B. Yeats!


Game. Set. Match.


His last line should have said more along the lines of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s but like his son, not achieving the wordsmith’s levels akin to John B Keane. Just to rub it in his face.


There is some really good stuff in it. Better for discussion that the headline bits that the critics light on.

This is very interesting …

Spawell Complex

Since the completion of our strategic plan - The Blue Wave Strategy 2011 - 2017 - the Dublin
County Committee has focussed on identifying and procuring additional GAA facilities in
Dublin to meet the demands of the growing numbers of participants who wish to play our
games. This work is being carried out at a time when most clubs are finding it impossible to
acquire land to develop additional pitches, due to both the shortage and the increasingly high
cost of land in Dublin.

In addition to acquiring land close to new and developing clubs the County Committee
recognises that the optimum way forward is for Dublin GAA to acquire sites around the
county to allow it provide cluster facilities with floodlights and all-weather capacity for use
on a shared basis by Dublin GAA clubs.

The concept of developing cluster facilities has the following advantages:-
 They allow maximum utilisation of the pitches as they are not subject to the impact of
individual club life-cycles where pitches can often be underutilised for several years;
 They assist the County Committee in putting forward a cohesive plan to Government
or to the Local Authority to obtain development funding; and
 They allow the clubs to focus on other areas such as recruitment, retention and
coaching of players of all genders and age groups.

The Dublin County Committee recognised the Spawell complex, as one of the locations,
which represented a unique opportunity to house a cluster facility which would achieve all
the above objectives. The site is in a pivotal position at the south east corner of Tymon Park.
It is immediately adjacent to the M50 at the Tallaght exit (at N81), servicing the entire Dublin
Motorway network and thus provides convenient access by road from all parts of Dublin. It is
serviced by several bus routes (including QBC routes along the N81 boundary of the site) and rail (Luas to Tallaght at about 2 kilometres) and has excellent pedestrian and cycle access. It is immediately adjacent to a number of Dublin GAA clubs and is within convenient travel distance for most Dublin GAA clubs from all catchment areas.

The County Committee finalised the purchase of the complex in 2017 through a subsidy
company, Blue Clusters CLG. This company is mandated to develop, operate and manage the Spawell Complex on behalf of Dublin GAA. In the intervening period, the company’s board
of directors - under the chairmanship of Sean Benton - has continued to manage the
operations on site and work on the development of the masterplan for the entire complex.

The development of the masterplan necessitated the commissioning of several reports:
 Topographical survey of the site where the pitches will be located;
 Survey of existing drainage system;
 Survey of the internal layout and the elevations of the buildings; and
 Preparation of a feasibility study for the site.

Some of the surveys are completed and the remaining reports will be completed in early
2019. The board expect that the site will allow for one All Weather Pitch, three Prunty
Pitches, Floodlights, Training Areas, Hurling Wall and dressing rooms. It is expected that
work will commence on site in mid-2019.

I wish to thank Sean Benton and the other members of project team - Sean Shanley, Michael
Hand, Jim Brogan Brendan Waters, Gerry McGreevy - for their commitment to this
development. The support for this project from Árd Stiúrthóir Tom Ryan and the GAA
Director of Finance, Gerard Mulryan, is also appreciated.


Another good para - kudos Raheny!

The GAA – A True Community Organisation

The local GAA club is the beating heart of every community in the country. It provides a
base and structure which is the catalyst of much community activity and volunteerism. It
fosters a spirit of participation, cooperation and belonging. As well as all this, many local
clubs provide for specific needs in a lot of our communities and this often goes unnoticed.

When asked what it is like to be the parent of a child or young adult with special needs,
parents often describe feelings of abandonment, exhaustion, hard work and a sense of
isolation. The experience of some parents is that those with disabilities can become detached
from their communities and have extreme difficulties building friendships. In essence, they
don’t have the same opportunities as others.

I was, therefore, delighted to hear about the All-Stars initiative at Raheny GAA club. This
innovative initiative sees a group of children with special needs learn GAA skills with a
dedicated group of coaches at the club every Friday. The All-Stars is the brainchild of clubmember,
Maria Curtis, who started the venture in 2016 and has seen it go from strength to
strength. Every one of the children involved has benefitted massively from this inspiring
sporting and social outlet. It has also helped to create a tightly-knit network among the
children’s parents.

One of the main ingredients for the success of the Raheny All-Stars initiative has been the
involvement of a number of local transition year students who do great work helping out with
the coaching. It would be wonderful to see this brilliant idea and initiative spread around the
country, through our GAA clubs. We could genuinely then have All-Stars at every club.


That’s very interesting about the Spawell site and Blue Clusters CLG


Those stats are unreal. Well done to everyone involved.


Like this too …

Páirc Uí Chaoimh Controversy
This Summer saw our Association embroiled in an issue which was none of our own making,
regarding the use of Páirc Uí Chaoimh. As is the nature of such things in recent times, a huge
and unnecessary controversy had blown up on social media days before the GAA were even
approached about the event. It is maybe ironic that a progressive organisation like the GAA
can be accused of being archaic when all the evidence says otherwise. We have excellent
clubs and infrastructure - and a young and vibrant membership. Our funding is transparent,
hugely efficient and is the embodiment of added value.

The nature of the criticism from some quarters was disappointing but unfortunately in
keeping with an increasing propensity to engage in megaphone diplomacy and soundbites. It
was most unfortunate to hear pejorative terms such as ‘dinosaur’ being used. Maybe those
that engaged in this manner should call down to their local GAA club to see what’s going on.
They are more likely to see training tops than triceratops. I am happy that the matter was
ultimately resolved to the satisfaction of all and I would commend our Uachtarán for his
handling of a delicate issue, often in the face of a sustained, unfair and ill-informed attack


Good stuff alright. He’s on form this year.


Jaysus this lot actually taking a point seriously …


see the first comment on the article :roll_eyes:


Haven’t looked at pug lover’s forum page lately ,its always good for a laugh


Are they replying to each other? Seems like random thoughts.


Astrixs me bollixs.

  • asterisk


Fully agree. I know we have been blessed to have such great players and management over the last few years, but people should appreciate just how lucky we have been to have had an administrator like John Costello overseeing the business of the County too.


He’s some Gaul all the same…


Another nice extract …

All All Stars

Of course it was another unforgettable year in terms of on-field achievement for Dublin football. Four-in-a-row success in a row in the modern game is quite simply remarkable. But, in a purely personal capacity, I would like to touch on another aspect of this team. In every walk of life we aspire to role models, especially for our youth. It is hugely important that we have people that we can all look up to and seek to emulate. I suppose the current terminology, at least in our walk of life, is ‘sporting ambassadors’. We are very fortunate in Dublin GAA that we have a group of young men who epitomise the very best of what the city and the GAA is about. They contribute to their communities, to charities, to the GAA and to causes or issues that are important to them. Sometimes this can be very public in nature - and hugely valuable for that. Other times it is things that can go unseen and unstated – and that’s the way the lads want it. I have huge admiration for this work.

In a world that too often seems to dwell on negativity and pessimism it is wonderful and heartening to see a group of young men who see positivity in everything they do. Encouraged and assisted by management they contribute hugely to city life and beyond. They readily engage with their clubs, with their communities and with the supporters. They are selfless in their efforts and with their time and I know it is hugely appreciated both in the county and even further afield. I know I am not alone in my opinion when I say that it makes every one of them an All Star.


If he has a speech writer, Donald should hire him. If not, Cossie could be heading State side soon!!!

He is (as I’ve said countless times) the greatest administrator any club, county or country ever had. He is a superb individual. JC (no coincidence he has those initials) is the saviour of Dublin GAA. I’m lucky to share the same time frame as him as a Dublin/club GAA maniac.

Happy days.


Just makes common sense/smart decisions. An awful lot to be said for that.


All joshing aside, you are absolutely spot on, He is Mr Common sense! We’re still absolutely blessed to have him!