Planning, coaching and long-term development key to Moorefield success
The success of Moorefield seniors in winning nine county titles since 2000 did not happen by accident: it is due to many factors since the early 1980s which have maintained the club’s record in Kildare and Leinster.
First, the very brave decision to sell the old clubhouse on Moorefield Road and to purchase a greenfield site in Pollardstown in 1981 galvanised committee members and supporters to fundraise, plan and develop an excellent clubhouse and expansive grounds which were opened by the late John Dowling, GAA President, in 1986.
Additional lands were secured over the years and a major refurbishment of the clubhouse took place in 2013, funded in large part by interest-free loans from club members.
Second, the development and implementation of a consistent and well-planned youth coaching programme led to unprecedented juvenile and minor successes for Moorefield. Some of this preceded a first senior success since 1962 when Pat Flynn let the team to a Leader Cup win in 1994, a feat repeated under Martin Murray’s captaincy in 1996.
Third, the Minor league and championship successes were vital to the establishment of Moorefield as a major club in Kildare and Leinster since 2000. They were feeders for the seniors – and the signs were there that the Moorefield jersey was more important than any individual player on any team in the club.
The minor championship winning teams of 1990, 1997, 2003 and 2015 have produced and developed almost all the men who have worn the jersey with great pride and courage in the past 20 years. Of the 2003 team, names like Ger Naughton, Ian Lonergan, Daryl Flynn, Ciaran Kelly, Ross Glavin (capt), Kevin Murnaghan, Jason Phillips and Keith Duane spring readily to mind in any discussion of the best players in any Kildare club in recent years.
And then to the classy minors of 2015: Mark Dempsey, Sean Healy, Aaron Masterson, Ian Meehan, Mark McDermott, Mark Murray, Adam Sweeney have slotted seamlessly into the senior team and panel. Their graduation to the top grade is testament to the manner in which they have been coached and imbued with the club spirit since an early age.
It took until 2000 to annex the coveted Dermot Bourke Cup with Martin Ryan as captain. This was the first of eight wins from then until 2017 which was crowned by the winning of the Leinster Club title in a dramatic last six minutes against St Loman’s of Westmeath at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Sunday 17 December last.
No mention of Moorefield players is complete without the name Roli Sweeney on the roll of honour. He has been at the forefront of the eight senior title wins from 2000 to 2017. His leadership, dedication, example and commitment are beyond question: and following the Leinster Club win in 2017 a newspaper heading stated that ‘Sweeney cements his status as Kildare’s greatest ever club player’, a fact acknowledged by his numerous admirers and opponents alike.
The Moorefield players of 2018 are an inspiration to those following in their footsteps through the ‘Mini-Moores’ and the Underage Academy. The future certainly looks bright for the club which was founded in 1884, a club which grew out of a football team established by the O’Kelly brothers, John and James, in 1882.
Moorefield GAA Club
Dedicated to Excellence
In 1882 two brothers, John O’Kelly of Moorefield Road and James O’Kelly of Ballymany were instrumental in forming the first football team in Newbridge. Calling themselves the JJ O’Kellys. When the GAA was formed in 1884 the club changed its name from J J O’Kelly’s to Moorefield, the name of the local townland.
The club’s first county title was in junior football in 1932 and was followed by intermediate titles in 1937 and 1939. Triple Leader Cup success (1958-60) put Moorefield on the map as a serious force leading to victory in the 1962 championship – on 12 May 1963. The senior hurlers also won the county title that year (1963), 20 years after their first win in that grade, and won again in 1991.
The Millennium year, 2000, heralded unprecedented success for Moorefield in Adult Football, Hurling, Camogie and Ladies Football.
In 2016 the Senior football team played in their 10th Senior Championship final since 2000, a fantastic achievement for the club and a testament to the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in Moorefield GAA. The adult football section has been one of the most successful clubs on the field over the last 16 years having won a Leinster Club Championship (2006), seven Senior Championships (2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014) six League Titles (2001, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015), two Minor championships (2003, 2015) three Under 21 championships (2000, 2001, 2003), Senior B championship (2004), four Reserve A championships (2011, 2012, 2014, 2016), Reserve C Championship (2013), Junior A Championship (2002) Junior C Championship (2001, 2002, 2003, 2006) Junior B Championship (2007), Jack Higgins Cup (2006,2012). This has been a golden era for the club and it can be attributed to the outstanding underage coaching structure which nourishes “Dedication to Excellence” from day one.
Ladies football in Moorefield GAA was established in 2000 with the fielding of a first ladies team at Junior grade. 2015 was a very successful year for the Ladies football section with the Senior team winning the Junior A Championship and representing Kildare in Leinster Championship only to be beaten by a strong Dublin team. This year the ladies team played some excellent football throughout their league and championship campaign and reached the Intermediate Championship Final. They were beaten by a very experienced Monasteraven team but no doubt will come back stronger in 2017. Since its foundation the Ladies football section have won the following: Six Junior titles (2009 Championship, 2010 League and Championship, 2012 League, 2013 League, 2015 Junior A Championship), two Minor titles (2007 and 2011) and several underage titles: U-12 (2005 B, 2011 B, 2012 C), U-13 (2010 C), U-14 (2011 D, 2012 E), U-15 (2010 D, 2011 D) and U-16 (2006 B, 2011 D).
For the full history of Moorefield GAA check out our history book
‘Moorefield GAA Club – Our Club, Our Town 1884- 2014’
I have pored over and read as much as I could of your extraordinarily well researched and well told story of Moorefield as I have been able to over the weekend and I humbly offer the following review:
“ Stunning in scope and compelling in detail, this history of Moorefield GAA club presents the proud record of a club and its community over a span of three centuries. The story of Moorefield GAA is the story of nationalist Ireland … read and be proud,” Liam Kenny, Leinster Leader Historian
I offer the above with a strong feeling of inadequacy – your book has managed to achieve what the most professional historians find all but impossible — how to present 570 pages of detail and yet keep the reader engaged to the very last sentence.
This book will make an impact among historians of Irish sport and culture at national level not to mind its guaranteed enthusiastic reception at county and local levels.
Thank you for asking me to make this contribution.
Thank you to Eugene McGee, Irish Independent Columnist for his review….
“A GAA club without a written history is like a man with no clothes, tolerable but lacking something substantial. With this history Moorefield Club now is well and truly dressed and ready to further adorn its already outstanding contribution to the GAA in Kildare since 1884.”
“A history of a great club from humble beginnings to county and provincial kings; Moorefield, what the GAA is all about.”
Tommy Callaghan, Sports Editor, Leinster Leader
“This is an outstanding record of the growth and development of Moorefield Club, and of its place in the
town of Newbridge. It is an immense contribution to GAA literature.”
Liam O Neill, GAA President
Books on sale now…
Available from the club shop, The Nook and Mc Donnell’s Bar.
Alternatively contact Fionnuala Kelly 0879449200.