Harold’s Cross Youth and Football Club, the Club was formed in 1957 and based in the Stew House
(a place where poorer people were given free food – stew) beside Mount Jerome Cemetery. Before
that (in the 1940’s) there were two teams playing as Harold’s Cross, one played on a Saturday and
one on a Sunday, because there were two different leagues (but mostly the same players). The Club
eventually moved up to what is now Rosary Park in 1957. There was a large house on the site and
huge fields with orchards. The house was owned by the O’Brien Family and when they moved out
in the late 50’s they left the property to a local priest Fr. Brown. From here the Youth Club, as it
primarily was formed. fl
The premises was the hub of the community and Fr. Brown held dances here in the 60’s on
Thursday nights, such as it was in the day Fr. Brown would stop the dancing and everyone knelt
down and said a decade of the Rosary. During the 60’s Fr Brown organised trips for the children to
places like Arklow and Wicklow (not a lot nowadays but it was like a whole different world to the
kids then as this was before the 2 weeks in the sun holidays).
The Club progressed through the 60’s and was run by local people but mostly by people that were
sent by the Legion of Mary as the club was attached to the Church and to organisations such as the
Catholic Youth Council. Attached photo is of the 1°‘ team to play here in 1957. The team played in
the Under 12 League and was made up of kids ranging from 8 to 13, as there were no leagues for
any age group below 12. (Former Chairman, John Duffy is in the photo below). The Club then
went under the name of Our Lady of The Rosary or OLOR as it was better known.
One of the most successful teams in the Club (probably the best ever) were this U12 team seen here
with their huge haul of trophies. They won the League and Cup in successive seasons along with
shields and other trophies.
Through the years various teams came and went and lots of trophies were won along the way but
the biggest win ever came in 1976 when the Senior (the first team of that age ever in the Club) won
the Leinster Junior Shield, one of the biggest Cups in Junior football. The team was managed by
Johnny Jordan. Throughout the years the number of teams playing in the Cub fluctuated but the one
thing that has mostly remained was the Clubs openness to players of all abilities. Another team
(pictured) also produced one player who went on to play in the English 1* Division (now otherwise
known as the Premiership), and two others who played in the League of Ireland. It would be
impossible to name all the trophies won or picture all the teams that played, just suffice to say that
the Club is still winning trophies as our U12’s showed by winning their Cup last season.
1] and Youth Club events were going on, there was also the community side 9
us other activities took place here on a weekly basis. These were all ry
by local women such as Mary Farrelly, Patti Sattell, Collette O’Connor, Aileen Mahony, Dog
Taylor, Rita King, Kay Kavanagh and many others who as well as running the hall also helped oy
with summer projects and organised discos in the new hall. These were the highlight for most o
the teenagers in the area and many a marriage began at these dances. Rita King who helpe
organise most of these events is still involved in the centre (as was Dodo Taylor till she fell into bad
health a while ago) as is responsible for the hiring of the hall. There were also adult dances held or
a regular (but there was no stopping for prayer in the middle of these).
While all this Footbal
the Rosary Hall and variot
Two of the organisations that began using the hall in the 70’s are still there today, the Herlihy-Doyl
School of Irish Dancing and the Mount Harold an
d Harold’s Cross Ladies School, (another sign of the centres longevity). The Irish dancers are a big
Success story and were started in by and continue to be run today by her daughter and he
granddaughter. They continue to practice in the hall and attend Féis all over the country and pick uf
awards too numerous to mention here. :
It wasn’t all hard work on the football pitch in Harold’s Cross and all through the late 60’s and
onwards the Club went on various weekends away to play football and other activities (table tennis,
pool, snooker) against other Youth Clubs in England and Scotland. Many a story could be told and
for most if not all kids this was a huge adv
: enture, going on a boat (we had not progressed to flying
yet) and going to a foreign country. Most of the time the Club was put up by the teams they were
visiting other times they had the joy of the infamous Bed & Breakfast establishments. The role was
often reversed and the Clubs would come and visit Harold’s Cross
This tradition has continued and in the last few years we have brought over 150 parents and kids to
England where they once again got to play against other teams, visit Premiership grounds and watch
Premiership games. As well as the whole club going over individual teams have also gone over and
it is still a highlight for children (and for the parents as well).
th ts and children on a tour of Anfield and some of the teams before there friendlies
sc e paren 4 a
Some of the pare in Liverpool on a recent club trip
The Youth Club continued to thrive and was now open 5 nights a week for the children of the area,
dances were also held in the new hall although the saying of the Rosary had stopped. Summer
ects and trips away were now being organised by the women on the committee, women like
Mary Farrelly, Patti Sattell, Collette O Connor, Aileen Mahony, Dodo Taylor, Rita King and Kay
Kavanagh (Whose husband Tommy was to play a huge part in the Club in the next 20 years).
Summer projects brought the children all over Dublin and beyond to far flung places like Butlins.
Around this time (late 70’s) Paddy Brennan with his trusty sidekick Tommy Kavanagh and others
had the Youth Club thriving and holidays to far flung places like Blackpool in England were annual
and must looked forward to event. There were also weekends away to Cork in fact anywhere tha!
would take us. Probably one of the highlights for me would have been our trip to Middlekerk in
Belgium, this for most of us would have been our first time in continental Europe and W**
something we would not have done if it had not been for the Youth Club. The Youth Club also took
part in competitions all across Dublin against other Youth Clubs playing table tennis, _
taking part in quizzes and swimming galas.
In 1982 the Club premises had fallen into a bad state of repair. Word got out that the entire front of
the complex was to be sold and the money acquired from the sale was to be used to build a new
Parish Centre with the loss of the Youth Club’s Soccer Pitch. The people of the locality were
adamant that no part of the property was to be sold and organised a committee and began
fundraising to raise the money to modernise the property. Through various fund raising activities
and with money from the Archdiocese and local people giving their labour for free the property was
saved. The people of Harold’s Cross united as one when the crisis came and everyone concerned
were happy and proud that the people had united behind the Club and saved the complex for the
young and old of the community. A copy of the day is attached and details the whole story of the
saving of the club.
With the club saved from extinction it moved on with vi
Kavanagh and their ever growing band of helpers of local vigour,
more trophies were won. The youth club and trips
the continent were now a regula oa Ps away kept on at a pace and trips to England and
this the lob wae nna Salve ee es Were trips to various parts of rural ireland Through all
the methods of fincreieite ea me raised from members subscriptions and fundraising. One of
tug of wars ) and righdly Sane ian ( pitch and putt , 5 a side football competitions,
the pub as at the time entertainment every night in local bars was caheard ass well oe .
ee the festival also raised money for other charities. One of the main methods of feeits
during the week was the election of Lord Mayor of Harold’s Cross. In this the aitneite
(normally 3 Ot Beople) hen totais Sponsorship money by whatever means and at tiled a the
week the person who raised the most money was elected Lord Mayor. Sounds frivolous but there
were many a fierce battles to see who came out on top.
Paddy Brennan and Tommy
and parents. The football flourished and
When Paddy Brennan died the festival waned for a while until Tony Swaine took up the mantle and
it is now back in full swing, this time the festival was based in Rosie’s O Grady’s in Harold’s
Cross. As was always the case there are various methods of collecting or raising money .For the last
few years it has been The Charity Auction , The Lord Mayor battle and last year the very painful
chest waxing for a couple of very brave men. Probably one of the strangest was the early morning
Liffey swim which was held just once a couple of years ago. For the last couple of years the main
charity to benefit from the week was Harold’s Cross Hospice which has benefited by over €10,000.
in the last few years. Just another example of the Club helping out the local community.
In 1995 the club premises was nearly sold again and this time it was only stopped at the last minute.
The property was being put up for sale and this was only discovered 48 hours before the auction
was due to take place. A new and legal battle then took place with the committee of Harold’s Cross
Youth with chairman John Duffy and Sec Paddy Brennan and a host of others taking up the fight
again. There were several proposals of land swap and land deals but eventually an agreement was
reached and the old club house was demolished, the pitch moved and the front part of the property
sold off for apartments. In March 1997 the new clubhouse was officially opened signifying another
victory for the club and its members and so once again guaranteeing the survival of the club for the
Below are photos of the old pitch and new Club House opening day in March 1997
Now as we prepare to celebrate the clubs 60″ birthday and enter a new phase iwe
can honestly say the Club has never been in a healthier condition. We now have 12 football teams
with ages ranging from 6 to 17 meaning we have almost 200 children playing and training every
week. This would not happen without the dedication and time given by all the respective managers
and coaches who give up so much of their free time to look after the children week in week out.
Much has changed over the years with children been driven to the games unlike in older times when
we had to get public transport to games (try doing that now), all the teams now have uniform kits,
all the managers have and are getting FAI training and are all Garda Vetted and have all completed
Child Protection Courses with Cross care. All of this comes at a cost as has always been the way
down the years this is all paid for through members subscriptions and fund raising and some grants
from DCC and CDYSB.