Clane GAA Club was founded in 1884 and is located on the Prosperous Road. The GAA was founded in November 1884 in Hayes Hotel in Thurles and the previous June a highly successful sports meeting took place in Clane. The organisers held another event in May of the following year and out of this meeting evolved the establishment of Clane Gaelic Football Club . That meeting also marked the beginning of the highly successful athletic career of local man Tommy Conneff an early member of the club. During his outstanding career he broke several world records. He broke the 4-mile world record in August 1887 at Ballsbridge; in 1893 he broke the world mile record in Boston; two years later he again broke the world mile record, which stood for 16 years. Later that year he broke the three-quarter mile world record and this record stood for 38 years. Tommy Conneff has given his name to the magnificent Club facilities on the Prosperous Road, Conneff Park. The establishment of the Gaelic Football Club in Clane had a tremendous effect on society and life in general in Clane. Within a short time, success came to the Clane Gaelic football club. From 1887 sporting events in Clane took place on Sundays and this was possible through the support of the Parish Priest Fr. Turner. Organised meetings and games took place on a regular basis and this increased interest of the revival of nationalism that was taking place in the country at the time. The Club has won 17 Kildare County Senior football championships, 16 County Senior hurling championships and was selected as Kildare Club of the Year in 1975 and juvenile club of the year in 2018.
Clane town sports pre-date the GAA, those of 12 June 1884 on a field opposite the Dispensary House being reported as "ayquel to Punchestown" by the Leinster Leader. Dr O’Connor, organizer of the 1885 sports became first chairman of Kildare county board. A Leinster Leader report in April 1887 claims Clane had ‘the honour of being the first club to be established in County Kildare.’
Clane were the first Kildare football champions and a Clongowes Teacher who was a member of that team Professor Crowley was later accredited with having invented the handpass. RIC records from 1890 show that Clane William O'Briens had 50 members with officers listed as CJ O'Connor (who was also the first chairman of the Kildare county board) John Geoghegan, Maurice Sammon and James Archer.
A set of white jerseys from a house rugby team at Clongowes, used by the club after 1901, were used for the 1903 All Ireland final leading to the tradition of Kildare wearing all white as their county colours: the Lily Whites.
Recommended reading -
Clane GAA: A Century - A History Of The Club And The People (Clane GAA Club) 1985, 528pp.
This fine history of Clane GAA was published in 1985. It is over 500 pages long and is illustratrated with many great photos.
Published by Clane GAA in 2007, illustrated in colour and black and white throughout - including a huge number of team photographs - and including all GAA codes , a history of the club itself, local schools, memorable finals and players - an example of the labour of love many of these club histories are.
A Legacy From Clane GAA - Foundation, Survival, development and more by Pat Lynch (2022)
The book is extremely wide ranging; developments at Conneff Park club grounds are covered in three phases, together with 70 years of survival following the foundation of the club in difficult times. The book, on sale to create funds for the development of our new pitches and community walkway, contains detailed information on several aspects of life in and around Clane and our club since its foundation in 1884 to the present day. The trojan voluntary work, undertaken by Clane residents, men and women, to create top class facilities that is Conneff Park, and to place them at the disposal of present occupants (children and adults) of the famed village, is dealt with in minute detail. So too are several aspects of other elements of social and local history as well as the history of the GAA itself.
The Clane-Roseberry duopoly between 1901 and 1910 was responsible for raising football standards in Kildare. Eight Clane players Larry ‘Hussey’ Cribben, Bill Merriman, Ned Kennedy, Joe Rafferty, Jim Wright, Bill Bracken, William ‘Steel’ Losty and Johnny Dunne participated to Kildare’s cathartic twice-replayed home final appearance against Kerry in 1903 and first All Ireland success in 1905.
The club was seriously affected by the Irish Civil War, by which time it had won eight county titles. Pa Connolly spearheaded the revival of the 1960s which resulted in three more titles, including the dramatic comeback of 1967 which turned a four-point deficit into a six-point win in the final ten minutes. Pa was selected as a Cuchulainn All-Star award winner in 1963. Another notable player from this period was Tommy Carew who played football and hurling for Clane and Kildare. Tommy featured on the Kildare football team of the millennium.
Pa Connolly awards Tommy Carew Honorary Membership of Clane GAA in 2019
Clane again came good in the 1980s winning two more County finals before the 1990s brought further success. Clane won four county titles in a six-year period in a glorious decade where Martin Lynch and John Finn were to the fore. Martin won an All-Star in 1991 while John won an All-Star in 1998. Clane won the 1997 county championship, with nine Kildare players in the line-up and went all the way to the Leinster Senior Club Football Championship final, eventually losing to Erin’s Isle.
The Club provided six players for the Kildare team that reached the 1998 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final. Clane was represented by John Finn, Willie McCreery, Eddie McCormack, Paul McLoughlin, Paul McCormack and Bryan Murphy.
In more recent times our younger stars have some to the fore with Kildare winning the inaugural U20 All Ireland Football title in 2018 and Clane being well represented by Brian McLoughlin, Shane O'Sullivan and Brian Corbett. Clane also won their first ever U21A County Football Championship in 2018 overcoming Naas in a titanic tussle with the match going to extra time. Clane also won the inaugural U23A Football championsip in 2021 completing a memorable U23A Football and Hurling double.
John Ball also won a Minor All Star for his performances in goals for Kildare in 2018.
The decision of Dick Brien to bring a set of hurleys to Clane and the appointment of Wexford man, John P Lacey, as secretary of the Clane club in 1903 established hurling in the club. Clane went on to win 16 titles before 1922, including a famous comeback against Landenstown from seven points down in 1920.
A split in 1922, probably related to the civil war, led to the establishment of Mainham hurling club. In their glory period Clane had lost just two finals, to Maynooth on objection in 1913 and to Celbridge when some of their players were missing in 1921.
This proved to be the club’s most successful period in the Senior ranks and to this day they still hold the title of having the most Senior Hurling Championships in Kildare (16). After spending the best part of the 1990’s at Intermediate level, the early 2000’s saw them eventually return to the Senior ranks with David Harney einning Kildare club hurler of the year in 2004. They went on to win the Senior Hurling League in 2009 under the management of Seán O’Dea.
Clane Minor hurlers won the Minor B league on 4 May 2012 defeating Eire Og Corra Choill on a score of 2-15 to 2-05. Clane won the Kildare Junior Hurling Championship in 2013 beating Naas in the final.
Throughout the years, Clane have been well represented at county level. In 2014, Kildare won the Christy Ring competition which included 4 Clane players; David Harney, Paudie Reidy, Bernard Deay and Paddy McKenna. In the same year, the Kildare Under 21 team won the Leinster “A” and All-Ireland “B” competitions with 5 Clane players on the team; Paddy McKenna, Shane Ryan, Tommy Cribbin, Cathal Egan and Connor Martin. Three Clane players have also picked up Christy Ring All Star awards David Harney (2005), Paudie Reidy (2006) and Bernard Deay (2015).
In 2018, Kildare yet again won the Christy Ring Cup and Clane were represented by Paddy McKenna, Mark Doyle, Chris Bonus and Bernard Deay. Paddy went on to win a Christy Ring All Star Award as well as making the Christy Ring team of the year. To round off a memorable year, Paddy also won Christy Ring Hurler of the year!
Clane won the U21 B Hurling Championship in 2018 with a hard fought victory over Naas in the final. More recently Clane won the inaugural U23A Hurling Championship in 2021.
The club was founded in 1931 when Bridie Ennis was listed as ‘one of the best players in the county.’ Clane won the county championship in 1939 shortly before the club lapsed and the best players joined Sallins. A team trained by Wexford man Ned Coughlan won the 1953 league and championship, the 1962 senior league, but the club lapsed again 1966-1976. Clane revived in 1976 and won league and championship in 1977 wearing the green gym-slips of the local Scoil Mhuire Community School.
They won junior league and championship in 1980 but lapsed in 1983 when the best players joined Prosperous. Geraldine Dwyer and Marianne Johnson were selected on the Kildare camogie team of the century. Clane hosted the final of the 1993 Gael Linn Cup inter-provincial series. Clane camogie won the Kildare Intermediate final on Sunday 30 September defeating Leixlip on a scoreline of 2-06 to 1-05. Clane were captained by Sabine Kennedy and managed by 'The Special One' from Cork, Bernard Crowley with the assistance of John Cribbin and Tony O' Grady.
Clane retained the Intermediate Championship in 2013 with a hard fought victory over Leixlip on a scoreline of 4-11 to 3-09. Clane were captained by the veteran Karen O'Reilly with Ciara Herbert as vice captain.Manager this year was Louise Conlon ably assisted by Ciara Smullen and Tony O' Grady. In 2016, the minor camogie team won the Division 1 Minor Cup final with a score of 1-7 to 0-6 against Naas.
In 2017 the club won both the Junior and Senior leagues and in 2018 moved to play in the lily-white colours, like all other codes in the club.
In 2018, Melissa Lyons was named Kildare Camogie, Senior Player of the Year.
In 2019, Grania Martin, Caoilfhionn Hallissy & Nicole Malcolmson represented Clane on the Kildare Senior Camogie team that defeated Limerick in the Division 3 National League Final with Caoilfhionn voted Player of the Match.
In 2021 Clane won the Junior B League and Championship double.
Clane GAA Ladies Football was founded in 2001 by Mary Deay, Claire Byrne, and Bernie Walsh. The three ladies set up training twice weekly for underage teams, and ever since Ladies Football has grown from strength to strength in Clane. Pat Deay was the first Chairperson, and oversaw the development of a number of successful teams in this role. In 2003 Peter Kilkenny set up and managed the first Senior Ladies Squad. The first piece of silverware to be won by this Senior Squad was the Junior C Championship Cup which was won in 2008 under the guidance of Donnacha Hayden. The Senior Squad went on to the Junior A Championship Leinster Club Final in 2014 under the guidance of Aislinn O’Donovan, Aidan Hughes, and John O’Shea.
Successes also with underage in recent years, including U14 Squad travelling to the Féile-Peil na nÓg Finals in 2014, and Leinster and an All Ireland winners medals for Ellie Fitzpatrick with the U14 Kildare squad in 2016.
In 2018, there are over 220 girls playing Ladies Football with Clane. Fantastic achievements again this year with Club representation at County Level, Joanne Deay with a Leinster Medal and an All Ireland Cup and Medal with the Kildare Minor Squad, and Ellie Fitzpatrick and Ciara Dunne with Leinster Medals with the Kildare U16 Squad. Ciara Dunne has also been awarded the Kildare U16 Young Player of the Year 2018. These are the successes which keep our Ladies Football strong and which our younger players aspire to. Well Done Girls.
2018 also saw the launch of Gaelic 4 Mothers & Others in Clane. This has been very successful, with our squad already participating in matches. Watch for G4MO activity updates throughout 2019.
Finally, a big Thank You to the parents for your encouragement and dedication to Ladies Football, while ensuring all these girls get to training and matches. A big Thank You also to all the Coaches, Mentors, and volunteers who help out week in week out, hail rain or shine. It is this dedication from parents, coaches, mentors, volunteers, and Players that keep Ladies Football growing in Clane.
Today the Cub has circa 1,500 members and fields teams in football, hurling, ladies football and camogie. The club fields approximately 70 teams across all age groups and levels from Nursery through to Senior. The club is at the heart of the community and has excellent partnerships in place with all the local schools.
Check out our 'Reeling in the Years' photo gallery which is sure to stir up memories of some of the great moments in our clubs history down through the years. If you have a story behind the photos or would like to share some photos of your own on our gallery please email our club PRO at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact a member of the executive.
Please eMail our club PRO with any errors, ommissions or requested edits at email@example.com