St. Finian’s GAA Newcastle History

St. Finian’s was formed in March 1943 through a meeting of local in the old schoolhouse. St. Finian’s began with a Junior team and progressed upwards, getting to and winning the intermediate championship in 1949. Billy Dunbar of Main Street was captain at the time. The club continued with Senior up to 1954, when it was re-graded to Intermediate. In 1976, St. Finian’s won the Intermediate league to go Senior for the second time in their history. The first pitch was donated by Paddy

Flanagan. The field, called Cat’s Meadow, was at the top of Aylmer Road, on the left-hand side going down. St. Finian’s played there from 1943 to 1951. Another field in Corner Park was donated by Tom Dunbar and used for the years ’51 – ’55. Then May Dowling, publican on Main Street, allowed the club use of the field behind the Gondola which continued as the main pitch until 1984. During the early years of the club, McEvoy’s and Dowling’s public houses were the meeting places.

The club wished to have its own grounds for the centenary year of the GAA in 1984. To this end, a sub-committee, comprising of John Finn, Seán Fitzgibbon and Michael Harney, were looking at different options on the purchase of a field. Negotiations with Harry Smith of Main Street for the purchase field in Corner Park finished at £34, 000. Some ‘luck money’ was given back as Harry had a great grá for the club, having been secretary and treasurer at different times in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

On the 27 th of January 1983, Denis Doherty of Main Street handed over cheque number 238, to be used as a deposit on the field. Harry and his sister Molly Smith allowed two years for full payment of the cost. This money was raised through draws, a Lord Mayor Campaign, club field days and members who donated between £200 and £500 each. These, people will remember, were tough times for the economy and the club is eternally grateful to those who entrusted their hard earned

money, in some cases up to a month’s wages. The field was then developed by local farmers who gave their time and machinery free of charge. A special thank you to Mick McBennet of Blundelstown.

St. Finian’s was formed in March 1943 through a meeting of local in the old schoolhouse. St. Finian’s began with a Junior team and progressed upwards, getting to and winning the intermediate championship in 1949. Billy Dunbar of Main Street was captain at the time. The club continued with Senior up to 1954, when it was re-graded to Intermediate. In 1976, St. Finian’s won the Intermediate league to go Senior for the second time in their history. The first pitch was donated by Paddy

Flanagan. The field, called Cat’s Meadow, was at the top of Aylmer Road, on the left-hand side going down. St. Finian’s played there from 1943 to 1951. Another field in Corner Park was donated by Tom Dunbar and used for the years ’51 – ’55. Then May Dowling, publican on Main Street, allowed the club use of the field behind the Gondola which continued as the main pitch until 1984. During the early years of the club, McEvoy’s and Dowling’s public houses were the meeting places.

The club wished to have its own grounds for the centenary year of the GAA in 1984. To this end, a sub-committee, comprising of John Finn, Seán Fitzgibbon and Michael Harney, were looking at different options on the purchase of a field. Negotiations with Harry Smith of Main Street for the purchase field in Corner Park finished at £34, 000. Some ‘luck money’ was given back as Harry had a great grá for the club, having been secretary and treasurer at different times in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

On the 27 th of January 1983, Denis Doherty of Main Street handed over cheque number 238, to be used as a deposit on the field. Harry and his sister Molly Smith allowed two years for full payment of the cost. This money was raised through draws, a Lord Mayor Campaign, club field days and members who donated between £200 and £500 each. These, people will remember, were tough times for the economy and the club is eternally grateful to those who entrusted their hard earned

money, in some cases up to a month’s wages. The field was then developed by local farmers who gave their time and machinery free of charge. A special thank you to Mick McBennet of Blundelstown.

In the early 1950s, Juvenile teams were formed with the Don Bosco Club, but petered out after a short period of time due to lack of numbers in a small area. In the mid-1960s, Juveniles were again formed under Paddy Fitzgerald, Eggo Fox, P Connolly and Larry Murphy. During 1970s, 80s and 90s, St. Finian’s won a fair few Juvenile competitions but a championship did not come our way until the noughties. We then won two in the same decade. In November 2004 we won the U21 championship, beating St Monica’s in a replay in Parnell Park. In 2006, St. Finian’s won the U15 championship, beating Fingallions in the final in Malahide.

St. Finian’s National School has also been a big help to the club throughout the years, always encouraging pupils to participate in Gaelic Games.

St. Finian’s hosted its first Inter-County match for the golden jubilee year of the club. On Saturday 6 July 1993, Dublin under Pat O’Neil played against Roscommon under Dermot Early. Paddy McGarry of St. Finian’s played on the Dublin team, who were victorious on the day.

Down through the years, St Finian’s has been lucky enough to have good people in charge of teams. The committees too have had people of the highest integrity and decency. Those who have gone to their eternal rest and those who serve presently are all appreciated hugely.