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Ballyfermot De La Salle: From Surviving To Thriving

Brought to you in association with AIG Ireland.

 

For those who believe life as a GAA club in Dublin is easy, they clearly haven’t come across Ballyfermot De La Salle.

A small club run by a smaller number of people in an area where soccer is the dominant sport, the club has gone from being on its knees and close to extinction to one that is thriving in a new era.

Paul O’Brien is the club’s GPO & Adult First Team Manager and he describes a club that was on its way out were it not for the local people of Ballyfermot.

“Between having no facilities, showers, toilet facilities our numbers were falling.

“Over the course of 10 years, it took its toll.”

“It could have went either way, this club could have been dismantled, so we dug deep between ourselves, got together, people put their hand in their own pockets to get the financial end of things over the line, we fundraised and I think we walked away from that meeting knowing, right! We’re getting this done.”

Senior footballer Ryan Cassidy remembers a time when the team struggled to field 13 men, never mind a full team for matches. However, as their fortunes changed in terms of fundraising by the club members in order to keep the club alive, they were paid back in 2017 when the club went on to win an unprecedented treble.

“You’re going up to wherever we met, probably here playing at home and you’re thinking have we got 13 like? You know, have we got 15, how many have we got? Ring him, ring him.”

“2017 we done the treble, so we won the League, the Cup and the Championship. We all went back to Chasers, we all had our tops off and dancing on the tables and it was just great, it was like something out of the wild wild west it was.”

Reflecting on that monumental year, chairman, John McBride describes it as a really special time for everyone involved with the club.

“It was just a really special time, particularly for all the people that were there digging deep over the years to keep it going you know? It was really really magic.”

“From being on the verge of collapsing and all of a sudden we’ve gone from having one team to maybe 10 or 12 teams.

“With Paul being a full-time coach and all the activity and all the activity that goes on in the schools, it’s growing.”

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About Michael Corry

Sports Journalist based in Dublin. Hit me up if you have a unique story to tell. Email: michael@punditarena.com Twitter: @Corry_10 Instagram: @Corry_10