1902 – 1927
The “Kevin” club was established eighteen years into the Gaelic Athletic Association’s lifetime in the winter of 1902. The Evening Herald noted on Saturday November 22nd that “St Kevin’s H.C. were in the process of formation” and that the first training session would be held near the Polo Grounds on the same day. Gaelic League members and the students of C.B.S. Synge Street school were central to the establishment of the club.
The first known A.G.M. was held in June 1903 on 28 Wexford Street and the committee of the day included M. Bannon (Presiding), P. Bannon (Chairman), F. Jordon (Secretary), C. Kickham (Treasurer), J. O’Neill (Capt), J. Dunne (V/Capt) and committee members, J. Dunne, J. Cahill and J. Maguire. Newspaper records show that Kevin’s entered into junior and minor hurling competitions in 1903. Kevin’s have had an unbroken affiliation to the G.A.A. since its’ foundation.
While initially formed as a hurling club, football would soon follow and it was Saturday football league that would be our first title. Success on the hurling field soon followed and the club attained senior hurling status for the first time in 1910, by winning the junior championship. A senior hurling league title followed shortly.
The game of Camogie was devised in the Craobh a’ Chietinnigh (Keating Branch) in 1903 and practice sessions were held that summer in Drumcondra and later in the Phoenix Park. An Cumann Camógaíochta was inaugurated at 8 North Frederick Street, Dublin on the 25th February 1905 and it was in 1906 that Kevin’s decided to set up a team. Most of what we know about the Kevin’s Camóg club is a result of a former Camogie President by the name of Pat Rafferty who wrote “A History of Camogie in Dublin”. While not explicitly stated is reasonable to assume that the local Gaelic League branch had once again played its part in formation of Kevins Camóg club. Not alone were the Gaelic League a key driving force for Camogie in general, but as the Irish Independent noted the Craobh Naomh Caoimhín branch had both boys and girls participating.
On the 21st April 1911 at 25 Rutland Square Kevin’s attended a meeting in the Gaelic League Hall, which the main agenda item being how to foster and popularize the game of Camogie. The initial strategy was to play friendly games and on Tuesday 25th July Kevin’s took to the field to challenge Glenmalures. Prior to that a representative team from Dublin also travelled to Dundalk on the 9th July and included two ladies from Kevin’s by the names of O’Reilly and Mordaunt. Another Dublin North v South game was arranged for 9th September at the Foxrock Aeridheacht and the team was dominated by Kevin’s players including Kearns, Molloy O’Reilly, Mordaunt, Hynes (2), Jenkinson and Brown. The availability of pitches was a challenge and contact was made with C.Y.M.S. for the use of their grounds in Richmond Hill in Rathmines. Interestingly it was around this time that hurlers of Kevin’s had a strong connection with the Richmond Hill area. Approximately thirteen teams affiliated to the 1912/13 Dublin League which was won by the Kevin’s Camóg club. Unfortunately the camogie club ceased to compete around 1918.
Like many clubs across the country, a number of our members took part in the 1916 Rebellion. Capt Sean Connolly was probably the most well known member who fought and was the first rebel killed in action. Kevin’s lost their senior hurling status during this time, but Harry O’Kelly was busy spearheading an underage revival. The below picture was taken in ~1918, near the Polo Grounds in the Phoenix Park includes and Sylvester “Vesty” Muldowney and Tom Lawless who would go on to hurl senior with Dublin and play in National League and All-Ireland finals.
As part of the 75th Anniversary celebrations the club also appeared on RTE Radio 1 where a number of members were interviewed including William “Leggy” Kavanagh who played during “The Troubles”. Click here for a recording of his interview.
Kevin’s won the intermediate championship final in 1924 with a team mainly made up of players who came up through the ranks. Charlie McMahon played throughout the season with a bullet lodged in his head from the War of independence. Charlie would later line out for the Dublin senior hurlers and win a National League and All-Ireland title. Harry’s revival would finally bear fruit when in 1926 the club reached it’s first and only senior championship hurling final by beating the star studded and controversial Army Metro team. Kevin’s would be the first Dublin club to reach a senior final with homegrown talent.
1928 – 52
The 1930’s brought lots of success on the football field when Kevin’s won four minor football championships. Ned Murphy a teacher in Donore Avenue was central to the clubs underage success. Ned would later establish a club called Ballyboden Saint Enda’s. The arrival of Synge Street Past Pupils Gaelic Football & Hurling Club in 1945 led to a gentleman’s agreement that Kevin’s would drop football to focus on hurling in the late 1940’s.
In hurling the club lost it’s senior status in the early 1930’s but regained it again at the end of the decade with what was dubbed by Dermot Byrne as a “Great Team” who won the cup, league and junior championship to go back up. This team had a number of stars including Vesty Muldowney who had played in an All-Ireland and National League final and Peader Carton whose sons and grandsons went on to play with the famed O’ Tooles club. Also on the squad was Finbarr Fagan and Jimmy Bradley who had lined out for the Dublin minors against Cork (and the legendary Christy Ring) in the 1938 All-Ireland minor final .
1953 – 77
The 1950’s were lean in terms of success, but a Junior B title was won and in 1956 Kevin’s also won the minor hurling championship beating St. Columba’s of Crumlin in the final. The team included renowned tenor John Mac Nally and Freddie Strahan would later line out as an Irish International soccer player.
A big turning point came in the club in the late 1960’s when London born Chairman Con Daly led another revival of underage hurling in the club. Some great teams were produced and the club won under 15 and 16 championships in the 1970’s. These young players strengthened the junior squads and Kevin’s would win back to back junior and intermediate hurling championships to regain senior hurling status in 1978/79.
1978 – 2002
Kevin’s continued their progress winning 3 senior league division 2 titles in the 1980’s and come runners-up in division 1 in 1990. Another league division 2 title was added in 1996. During this period the inner city was experiencing a lot of social and demographic change and while fielding underage teams was challenging, the club remained loyal to the area.
While there were talks of establishing camogie within the club as far back as the 1970’s, the modern day camogie section was established in 1993. Loreto Convent on the Crumlin Road and Saint Claire’s of Harold’s Cross were central to the establishment of camogie. The club experienced immediate success at underage level and we now field teams at most levels including adult teams.
2002 – Present
The club lost it’s senior hurling status in 2001, but quickly returned by winning the intermediate hurling championship and reach the Leinster junior final in it’s centenary year. The former Weaver’s Hall in Donore Avenue was acquired and renovated as a clubhouse in 2010. Kevin’s developed a club strategy in 2013 entitled “Embracing Our Future”. As participation rates grew rapidly a Healthy Club plan was developed to further engage with the community.
The club now caters for all members of the community activities such as walking groups, social hurling, rounders, scór and a choir. We cater for all ages and abilities. Our youngest group is the ABC Nursery catering for 4 years and up. We field teams at all ages up to adult and compete in hurling, camogie and more recently rounders.
Contacting Our Club Historian
If you were involved with the club or have an ancestor who played we would love to hear your story. Our club historian is Daithi O hAolain and can be contacted on email@example.com. You can follow our club history on social media using the hashtag #KevinsHistory.