Issue 5


  Issue 5 – June 2012   

Welcome to the fifth issue of BSJ30.

 Johns 30 Year Celebrations

Camogie – From Tots to Trophies by Tom Hayes

Frank Whelan Interview by Sean MacConnell

Making Giant Strides – Early to Mid 90s by Pat Smith

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Back Issues

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[wptab name=’Johns 30 Year Celebrations’]

Johns 30 Year Celebrations

Johns’ 30 Year Celebrations


The newly elected GAA President Liam ONeill with his elegant wife Aine joined in the 30th Birthday Celebrations of Ballinteer St. Johns GAA on May Bank Holiday weekend. With 64 Teams and 4 Nurseries across the 4 codes and with 1400 Members, St. Johns GAA Club had every reason to enthusiastically celebrate their 30th Birthday. They were also joined at a special function on Sunday night in the Clubs magnificently refurbished Clubhouse by Andy Kettle and John Costello, Dublin County Board, Chairperson and Chief Executive respectively and by Maureen King, Chairperson of Dublin Ladies Football Board. The massive role played by so many wonderful volunteers over the 30 years was repeatedly referred to in the speeches and indeed the main aim of the celebrations was to acknowledge the voluntary contributions of everyone to date and to encourage new members to also give generously of their time to ensure that the next 30 years will be as successful.

A brilliant weekends celebrations saw a bumper Family Day on Saturday with special guest Sam Maguire, a magnificent array of entertainment for Sundays proceedings and a Monster Family Bingo Session on the Monday.


Some photos of the Family Fun Day:


Having fun catching ducks………


Playing on the new inflatable pitch from GAA Headquarters



Tackling the net……


Football for everyone in Marley Park



Going Long


Where did that ball go……………..



Ready for the Big Save…………….



Everyone wanted some action on the Inflatable Pitch



Always a favourite Tug-of-War



Michael Wren trying to organise the next round


I think we have a winner



A big favourite on the day BBQ



Kieran Brennan, Kieran Duffy and Pat Smith with Sam Maguire who paid us a visit at the weekend.



Chairman Ballinteer St Johns Kieran Duffy, President GAA Liam O’Neill and Sean Lane.

[wptab name=’Camogie – From Tots to Trophies’]

Camogie – From Tots to Trophies



Camogie – From Tots to Trophies

By Tom Hayes

They were Betty McCarthy’s tots of the 1990’s who participated every Saturday morning in the camogie nursery at Broadford. Betty asked Tom Hayes to take over the U11 team in 1997 which then graduated into one of the club’s most successful teams winning 14 trophies up to 2004. For the first time ever the club fielded a senior camogie team in the 2005 season following a clean sweep of the Intermediate competitions the previous year. The majority of the players featured on the 1997 U11 team. For the record below is the roll of honour since 1997:

• U11 Div 1 League 1997

• U12 Division 1 League 1988

• U13 Championship 1999

• Runner-up Div I Féile 2000 & 2001

• Féile Division II winners 2002

• U15 Division I League 2002

• U16 Division I League 2003

• U18 Centenary Cup 2004

• Junior B Championship & League Cup 2002

• Junior A Championship & League Cup 2003

• Intermediate Championship, League & League Cup 2004

They also finished runners-up on a number of occasions at Juvenile level in leagues and championships and were unfortunate not to win a couple of other competitions. A number of other notable achievements by members of this team include:

• Áine Goggins – Dublin Junior B Player of the Year in 2002

• Fiona Hayes – Dublin Intermediate Player of the Year in 2004

The following players represented Dublin at Championship level at U14, U16, U18 and Junior:

• Tara Whelan, Deirdre O’Neill

• Áine Goggins, Niamh McKennedy

• Fiona Hayes, Roisin Chambers

• Olive Sorohan

No one team makes a club and we were in the fortunate position to be able to field a second adult team in the Junior competition 2005. Fielding two adult teams within three years was a fantastic achievement and helped build a solid foundation for the future of the game in the club. The club now has a number of very committed juvenile mentors fielding teams at various age groups which will feed into the adult teams in the years ahead.

The nursery is hugely important and every Saturday morning the stars of the future are put through their paces in Broadford and the All Weather Pitch by a very dedicated team of new mentors. The schools in the area have played their part with Our Lady’s Ballinteer, Divine Word Marley and Scoil Naithi all participating in Croke Park at the Cumann na mBunscoil finals. There is no doubt that camogie has achieved parity of esteem in the club and in return it

has made a massive contribution to the club both on and off the field over the past few years.

Intermediate Camogie Final 2004

The championship final day on 4 September saw five adult finals played in O’ Toole Park. In the Intermediate final Ballinteer St Johns played St Marks, who we had earlier defeated in both the League and the League Cup finals by narrow margins. On the day the team was magnificent with the defence well marshalled by Olive Sorohan, both Siobhan McIntyre and Deirdre Ni Flionn on top at mid-field while the forwards ran riot in the second half. There were noteworthy performances by the two youngest players on the team, Niamh

McKennedy and Brenda Sorohan. Team captain Orla Kavanagh proudly received the Championship trophy from Camogie Board Chairperson Marie O’Brien. Well done to all the players from that formative period having won seven major adult trophies in a three year period.


Intermediate Camogie Champions 2004: Back Row: Ciara Mulligan, Louise Hayes, Eilish McCarthy, Brona Fagan, Siobhan McIntyre, Deirdre Ni Floinn, Marie O’Connor, Niamh Kiernan, Gillian Pounch, Fiona Hayes, Tara Whelan, Orla Kavanagh, Grace Coughlan. Front Row: Tom Hayes (Manager), Cait Murphy, Aoife Kiernan, Nora Tully, Niamh Mc Kennedy, Olive Sorohan, Deirdre Kelleher, Brenda Sorohan, Roisin Chambers, Áine Goggins.

Under 13 Division1 County Championship Winners 1999:


Back (L-R) Deirdre O’Neill, Alison Kirrane, Olive Sorohan, Fiona Hayes, Jillian Pounch, Siobhán McIntyre, Brona Fagan, Siobhán Naughton, Linda Byrne, Tara Whelan, Ciara Mulligan

Front (L-R) Marie O’Sullivan, Siobhán Joyce, Robyn Smith, Marie O’Connor, Áine Goggins, Roisin Chambers, Orla Kavanagh, Aisling Croke, Elaine Hyland, Amy Diviney.

Captain Linda Byrne receives the cup. Linda will be representing Ireland in the London 2012 Olympics running in the Ladies Marathon.




Division 2 Féile Winners 2002:



Back (L-R) Tom Hayes, Eimear Naughton, Emma Healy, Brenda Sorohan, Laurna, Gráinne Murray, Maedhbh McDonnell, Orlaith Shinnock, Niamh Quinn, Lisa Priesly, Lee Smyth, Carol Lane.

Front (L-R) Sarah O’Sullivan, Emma Lane, Cáit Murphy, Niamh Kennedy, Ciara Mulligan, Tara Whelan, Elaine Hyland, Aileen Duffy, Aoife Kiernan.

Senior B Shield Winners 2005:


Back (L-R) Tom Hayes, Nora Tully, Louise Hayes, Orla Kavanagh, Ciara Mulligan, Eimear Naughton, Jenny Murray, Deirdre O’Neill, Olive Sorohan, Marie O’Connor, Niamh Kiernan, Roisin Chambers, Áine Goggins, Tara Walsh, Betty McCarthy.

Front (L-R) Celine O’Connor, Fiona Hayes, Brona Fagan, Deirdre Kelleher, Brenda Sorohan, Niamh McKennedy, Siobhán McIntyre, Janet Lawlor, Tara Whelan, Eilish McCarthy, Jillian Pounch.

Evening Herald May 25th 1999 Hayes Heroes article:


Camogie Ballinteer U18 Centenary Competition.


Evening Herald Tues 11th June 2005 Ballinteer seven heaven:



[wptab name=’Frank Whelan Interview’]

Frank Whelan Interview



Interview Frank Whelan President European Folk Culture Organisation

By Sean Mac Connell

WHEN the President of a major European Cultural organisation tells you how important the work going on at St John’s Club in Ballinteer truly is, you should listen closely.

That man if very familiar to many of us but few know Frank Whelan has a global reputation as president of the European Folk Culture Organisation with his office in St Enda’s Historic Park just down the Grange Road.

He is at the centre of folk culture in Europe and his office in the historic school set up by the patriot Padraig Pearse, is festooned with awards, trophies and certificates to mark his work in this area.

A treasure trove of local information, Frank is a local man whose dancing ability placed him in the limelight from an early age and he is steeped in the tradition of not only his own area but the country as a whole.

He has appeared many times on national television and has been involved in community television in the area. His reputation is not just local but extends over Europe and beyond as European Cultural Ambassador and for his work in developing policy for culture on an EU wide basis.

“I find it really wonderful the work which Pearse was doing in St Endas is continuing just a short distance up the Grange Road in St John’s. The games which were played here are being played there and even the same dances,” he said.

Three times a week, Frank teaches the young and the more mature to perform the very same dance routines outlined in a 1913 programme organised by Pearse as he struggled to promote Irish culture.

“It is amazing to see that at that Ceilidhe, Pearse had listed the Walls of Limerick and the Sixteen Hand Reel and many others which are now being performed in the Clubhouse,” he said pointing out the dances on the official programme for the day.

“We should have a great sense of pride in that and what is going on in the community with the involvement of so many young people taking on board our native culture,” said Frank who is also the author of “The Complete Guide to Irish Dance”, an international best seller on the history and how to perform Irish dances.

From the huge archive, Frank produced the programme for another event held on Sunday August 24th, 1913 where an Aeridheacht was held which featured the Glencree Band.

Its programme was heavily Irish in content but not exclusively so. The band did open with “Teddy O Neal” but went on to perform such numbers as “O Solo mio”, a selection from the Gondoliers and from Il Trovatore by Verdi.

At 4.30 p.m., an hour after the opening, there was a tug-o-war competition and then there was a camogie match between Crokes and St Kevins. By six the patrons were invited to dance and the Lusk Pipers played during the intervals.

“There is another link to St John’s. The promotion of camogie and hurling,” he said as he produced a photograph of the 17 young men who made up the school’s 1909-1910 hurling team.

“I think todays young hurlers in St John’s would be very interested to see the sticks were so narrow. They are more like hockey sticks but I can assure you there were used for playing hurling,” he said.

His family have a direct link with camogie because it was his aunt who designed the first official camogie outfit for the ladies who play the game in its modern form.

Frank, who has been responsible for bringing 6,000 young Irish people on exchange visits to the Continent over the years, has the history of St Enda’s and the local area at his fingertips, said St Endas, was built in 1786.

The original creator of the house then known as “The Hermitage” was Dr Edward Hudson, a doctor of physic, whose son, a barrister, created the Follies, surrounding buildings such as the Druids Altar and an Ogham Stone on the grounds.

It came into the hands of William Woodbyrne, who owned diamond mines in South Africa , in 1898, and local lore has it this owner, who had a complicated marriage settlement buried a lot of diamonds on the grounds. They have never been found according to Frank.

But he is aware of treasure which was found in the area, at a house known as Kingston, near Ticknock cross roads where in 1892, some 650 coins dating back to 1689 and 1690, were uncovered by the local farmer, Mr Sheils.

Eight years previously, according the a report in Paddy Healy’s Dublin, another 440 coins dating from the same period, were found in a recess in a wall, but he speculated there must have been a link to the Stuart cause because of the name of the townland.

However, Frank Whelan is more interested in the treasures we can see every day in the facilities both at St Johns and St Endas which are the true cultural gems in the area, not lost diamonds or coin hoards from the past.

Ends Frank

[wptab name=’Making Giant Strides’]

Making Giant Strides


Making Giant Strides – Early to Mid 90s
By Pat Smith
In 1993 Kieran Brennan of Laois fame arrived as Manager and Matt Gannon came as Trainer. Kieran had previously been a successful Player and Manager with both his home Club of St.Joseph’s and Laois Senior Football Team. In 1986 under his command Laois won the National Football LeagueTitle when they defeated Monaghan in a very exciting Final in Croke Park having earlier beaten Dublin in the Semi-Final.
Spot the Past & Present John’s Managers from ’86 Semi-Final Programme.
Kieran and Matt joined Eamonn Coleman who had become involved with adult football in St. Johns in 1989 having previously been heavily involved in the management of underage/juvenile players in the club. Eamonn’s involvement with the adult side saw the introduction of young talented players who had made their way successfully through the underage and juvenile teams in the club and were now coming of age for adult football. While Matt guided the team as Trainer over the following seasons to promotion to Intermediate level in 1996, Kieran and Eamonn would continue in the management of the senior side to the end of the 2004 season.
O’Broin Cup Winners 1991
This new management team of Kieran, Eamonn and Matt built on the tremendous work which had been done at underage/juvenile level in the club in the preceding years and on the success already achieved at adult level. In 1991 St.Johns won the O’Broin Cup in O’Toole Park. The adult Management team prior to Kieran and Matt’s arrival was Eamonn Coleman, Edan Cosgrave and John Weir with Peter Byrne assisting in the training. Under Kieran, Matt and Eamonn’s watching brief the team trained with almost fanatical dedication in harsh conditions in both Broadford and Nutgrove and anyone not attending the twice weekly training sessions would lose out in the competition for places in weekend games. With increasing numbers of young players available, this strict new training regime was now the order of the day for any player hoping to progress. The ’Hill’ in Broadford would become infamous in the coming years for producing ‘lean and hungry’ players. Inevitable success followed from this approach and the team immediately gained promotion to Division 2 Junior (nowadays roughly equivalent to Adult 6 level) in the 1993/ ‘94 season.
The following ‘94/’95 season saw very substantial progress and the new young predominantly home-grown stars emerging would go on to achieve much in their football careers. A very significant success for this group came in the Junior A Championship Quarter Final in O’Toole Park on Sunday 7th May 1995. By virtue of a one point winning margin Johns emerged victorious over St.Patrick’s of Palmerstown on a scoreline of 1-5 to 0-7 with the decisive goal scored by Eamon Lawlor on 55 minutes. A last minute goal bound effort from St. Pat’s was diverted over the bar by Johnny Boland now domiciled in Australia. On such fine margins is major progress made. For the record the Evening Herald’s Man of the Match award went to one Johnny ‘The Magpie’ McNally who would later go on to such football heights ,with both Club and County. Coman Goggins ,future Dublin Senior Captain, also played that day. Diarmuid Desmond played at centre back and is still unbelievably going strong at Junior level for the Club. The basis of the team that would go on over the following seasons to  achieve such great success for the club was now being firmly established.
The Semi Final affair saw Johns lose out narrowly on the field of play in O’Toole Park to Park Rangers who were subsequently found by the County Board to have played an illegal player and the match was awarded to Johns.
The Final took place in Balgriffin on a beautiful summer’s Friday evening on 14th July 1995. There was tremendous excitement locally as the Junior A Football Final was regarded in Dublin football circles as a very prestigious occasion and certainly was a major achievement for such a young club as Ballinteer St. Johns to have reached such a stage with what was essentially a very young side at the time.
Two buses were organised by the Club for the Final. The number one bus was naturally reserved for players and management and the Supporters bus was fully booked out well in advance. The St. Johns Church Car Park was the departure point and many supporters travelling by car assembled there also to sample the atmosphere.
When the Team and supporters arrived in Balgriffin it seemed that the whole of Ballinteer was already present and there definitely was a wonderful ‘Parish’ atmosphere to the occasion. This level of local community support set the bar for future success over the years and it is now well recognised in Dublin GAA circles that Ballinteer St. Johns is one of the best supported clubs at all levels in Dublin.
Our opponents were the renowned St. Vincents Club and even though the John’s Team and Supporters were acutely aware of the challenge that lay ahead there was no defeatist talk in advance of the game. St. Johns were now a serious outfit and fully confident in the ability of their talented players.
The match itself though at that stage was probably a step too far for such a young John’s side. While extremely courageous and competitive the experience of the Vincent’s side eventually overcame them. Indeed one of their stars on the evening was Tommy Conroy, a Senior All-Ireland and Leinster Football winner in the 80s with the Dubs. That night the mood among Ballinteer St. John’s supporters was by no means downbeat and many sensed that much greater things lay in store for this team. It is worth noting as well that extensive networking was being conducted at that stage particularly by JJ. Duffy and Laurence Giles of the Club’s Development Committee, to further the advancement of additional facilities for the Club most especially a Clubhouse which must have seemed to many at the time as the ultimate dream. Brian Goggins ,the then Club Chairman and future successful U21 and Adult Football Mentor/Manager, was also actively seeking out new volunteers at all levels.
Later that Summer ‘Aras na nOg’ was officially opened at a cost of £40,000 but for a very ambitious Club Development Committee this was just a mere stepping stone to greater things. That official opening was also attended by Jack Sheedy among others who later that year would go on to capture Sam for the Dubs after a twelve year wait. It would be another sixteen years before Sam would re-appear in the Capital and this time also in our own magnificent Clubhouse.
On the playing field the disappointment of losing out in the ‘95 Junior A final was quickly allayed when promotion to Division 1 Junior League was secured shortly following that Final.
The headline on national newspaper coverage at the end of the following ‘95/’96 Season was ‘Ballinteer make Breakthrough’. Following an almost perfect league campaign promotion to Intermediate Football was achieved barely 14 years following the Club’s foundation. It would be hard to match such progress at National level let alone on the Dublin football scene. With an away victory secured over Ballyboughal it was time for champagne celebrations in the dressing room led by Captain Eddie Coleman. The theme music in cars travelling home from that game was ‘Simply the Best’ by Tina Turner. Newspaper coverage listed midfielder James Oliver as ‘Man of the Match’.
With Diarmuid Desmond and Eoin Richardson missing through injury the team on duty that day was Eoin Twomey, Kenny O’Toole, Adrian Gallagher, John Gillick, Coman Goggins, Ronan Cosgrave , John Boland, James Oliver, Eddie Coleman ( Captain ), Pat Coleman, Eamon Lawlor, Johnny McNally, Ron Tuile, Fiachra O’Connor and Kevin McNally. Full Panel Diarmuid Desmond, Eoin Richardson, Noel Corcoran, Shane Oliver, Turlough Maher, Cian O’Connor, Neil McGrath, Barry O’Neill.
On a convincing winning scoreline of 1-16 to 0-4 the decisive goal was scored from a penalty by Johnny McNally ,after Fiachra O’Connor was fouled having received a pass from Eamon Lawlor. Diarmuid Desmond and Ron Tuile while continuing their playing careers would go on to take charge and do a great job on training in a new Management set up the following season with Kieran and Eamonn still on board.
Having helped out throughout the previous season the Club Executive officially appointed me as Selector to join Kieran and Eamonn at the beginning of the 1996/97 season. From my first game as mentor in Hyde Park against Cuala in Autumn 1996 to my last game as mentor against St.Brigids in Russell Park in late 2007 it was an absolute privilege to be involved with so many people at all levels within the Club and most especially such wonderful players over all those years.
In the early to mid 90s progress on the Development Committee front was rapidly gathering pace and very solid foundations were being put in place at all levels for what was to come. Tremendous leadership at Club Executive level in those vital years in bringing new expertise on board across a range of areas to add to existing experience was decisive in guiding the future direction of the Club and this would yield a rich harvest in the years to follow not least in the wonderful facilities now enjoyed by club members.