May 30th 1998 is a historic day for Clontarf G.A.A.
Arus Chluain Tarbh is being officially opened by Joe McDonagh, President of the GAA.
Belgrove House, or St. Johns House as it was formally known has been extensively renovated and converted to a modern clubhouse. The end result of which, I hope, can be seen as a fitting tribute to our founding members of some 37 years ago, together with those numerous dedicated individuals who over the years, since, have brought the club to its present strong and healthy position.
The location of our clubhouse is significant, in that it is situated in the midst of the school complex, the nursery as it were for juvenile and later adult members. The teaching staff of which in their capacity as both team mentors and committee members have contributed greatly to the efficient organisation of club matters. On a historical note too, Belgrove is significant as the site of the inaugural meeting which established the club on the 11th April 1961. The club is proud of its strong link with Belgrove and is delighted with the arrangement to have its training pitch at the disposal of the pupils during school hours.
The establishment of the club in the centre of Clontarf, in the heart of the three parishes is also important. its central position together with its modern facilities affords both club members and the wider Clontarf community involvement in a large range of activities, social, cultural and educational.
Gné an-bhunúsach dár gcultúr is ea an teanga. Tá sé mar dhulgas ag an gclub an gaeilge a chur cinn i gCluain Tarbh agus freastal ar an éileamh atá ann chun ranganna gaeilge a chur siúl. Cheana féin chuireamar tús le bunchursa i mbliana. Ní amháin go mbíonn freastal iontach gach seachtain ach tá an rang ar fad ag baint ard thaithnimh as, agus tá ag éirí thar cinn leo. “Tosú maith leath na hoibre” Níl amhras ach go dtiocfaidh fás, fobairt is bláth ar na ranganna gaeilge seo, amach anseo.
On the playing pitch our senior football team are competing at Division 1, which according to J.J.Barrett (Evening Herald) is the top level of football in the country. This, for the club, is a notable achievement, hard won and a credit to both players and mentors past and present. In fact, over a 30 year period, some of these very players, while involved in rigorous training, have also given of their valuable time and experience to coach at juvenile level.
The future of our club looks bright, evidence of which is our hugely successful under age nursery. Football is fun - and the kids love it. St. Anne's park each Saturday morning is the venue for an outpouring of positive young energy in the guise of ambitious under age players. However, these future stars would welcome the involvement of additional coaches and mentors. Indeed our internal mini-leagues can equal the excitement felt in Croke Park on All Ireland Final day.
Ladies and girls football is the fastest growing sport in Ireland today and this trend is also reflected in our club, a far cry I might add, from the time when the female role was that of spectator, jersey washer or sandwich maker.
Hurling within the club has made great forward strides, particularly at junior level. Likewise the camogie player are ever active and this year our club has been represented at U.14 level for the first time.
While on-the-pitch activity is the most important aspect of any GAA club, and team involvement is a great general training for life, with our club, membership for many is in fact a way of life. The countless hours freely given particularly by non-playing members, to all aspects of club life, committees, sub-committees, mentorship, coaching, refereeing and board delegates etc., is I think ample proof of this.
A fine example of such commitment was experienced several times in recent years in respect of club fund-raising. These events which are now park of club folklore, involved club members and friends walking many miles around Ireland led by Mr. Donncha O'Dulaing and our late President, Sean O'Siochain. It is fitting here, to record the clubs grateful appreciation to Donncha, for his enormous contribution.
Thanks must also be extended to our many sponsors, to numerous, unfortunately to mention individually in this brief forward.
This publication is produced to both celebrate and record the opening of our clubhouse and its establishment in the centre not only of Clontarf, but more importantly, hopefully in the hearts and minds of the community in general. Our sincere thanks to all of you who have contributed in any way to this publication. Particular thanks to our Editor/Historian, Denis McIntyre whose imput, to say the least, has been enormous.
Finally, we salute the hundreds of members, past and present, at all levels, through times good and bad who have kept the red and white flag flying as a symbol of pride and commitment to a great club and true home. Aras Chluain Tarbh C.L.G. is I hope a glowing tribute to the perserverience of one and all.
Pat O'Brien Cathaoirlech C.L.G. Chluain Tarbh