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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project


gaa oral history project

Kildare was central to the early popularisation of Gaelic football, with the three games the county played with Kerry to decide the 1903 All-Ireland final drawing huge crowds and generating widespread excitement. That 1903 final, played in 1905, came in the wake of the reorganisation of the GAA in Kildare in 1901 and followed a decade of decline in the 1890s. Although ultimately defeated in the 1903 final, a first All-Ireland title followed when Kildare defeated Kerry in the 1905 final – a game not played until 1907.  A second All-Ireland title was claimed in 1919 and, following back-to-back titles in 1927 and 1928, Kildare became the first county to be awarded the new Sam Maguire trophy. This success, coupled with the influence of the Curragh military camp, saw the emergence of new teams in the county in both football and hurling. Between 1930 and the late 1990s, however, Kildare would win only four Leinster titles. Massive population growth since the 1970s, particularly in the towns and villages of the north of the county, presented the GAA with new challenges and opportunities. In towns such as Leixlip, clubs adapted to the new social realities, assisting – through the provision of key sporting and social outlets – in the forging of new, vibrant communities. For all that there has been extraordinary change, Kildare’s search for a first All-Ireland title since 1928 remains ongoing.


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The 1928 Kildare football team who were winners of the inaugral Sam Maguire trophy.
©GAA Oral History Project


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A colourful programme from a game in Newbridge between Johnstownbridge and Athy in 1987.
©GAA Oral History Project

Seamus Aldridge
Mary Weld

Séamus Aldridge, b. 1935

Séamus talks about the impact of the Second World War on the GAA in Kildare and the contribution of the local army barracks to surrounding area.
©GAA Oral History Project

Mary Weld, b. 1949

Mary discusses her various administrative roles in the GAA in Kildare and recalls her first experience at a county board meeting.
©GAA Oral History Project

'We would drive on up in the bus, stop outside the picture house in the Curragh. One of the girls would go in and take out three of four girls out of the picture house and say "You're comin with us" and we'd go on to play the match. It was brown gym frocks, pink blouses, black tights – you’d always have a few spare ones in the van going…And then the girls would be getting on the field and they'd say "Hey Mag, what's my name today?"'
- Margaret Sexton, b. 1948
©GAA Oral History Project

'Football had a big influence on the jobs...If you were a footballer, you got into ESB. If you were a footballer, you'd get into Roadstone. If you were a footballer, the Irish Ropes here in Newbridge, but you could only play with Moorefield. There's two teams in Newsbridge: Sarsfields and Moorefield... The Ropes was Moorefield dominated. Lads from other clubs, if they wanted a job in the Irish Ropes, they had to transfer to Moorefield.'
- Tom Moore, b. 1949
©GAA Oral History Project

'One of my most treasured memories is my first game in Newbridge in the U-10 final in 1987. I was playing corner forward that day and we won. It meant the world to us to be playing in the county grounds and then to actually win was amazing. I can remember calling over to my granny's house after the match and also receiving our medals from Pat Dunney at a function in the clubhouse.'
- Enda Gorman, b. 1978
©GAA Oral History Project

Click here to read a sample of a full length questionnaire: Paul Connolly, b. 1944