PLAYERS FROM THREE COUNTIES WEAR THE KILDAVIN/CLONEGAL CLUB COLOURS AND MARTIN BOLAND REPORTS ON THIS RARE ARRANGEMENT
KILDAVIN/CLONEGAL GAA club is a Carlow club in the unique position of having players on the team from three counties.
The club is based at Spellman Park in Kildavin just beside where the Derry river meets the Slaney. Historically Kildavin and Clonegal had separate teams and joined forces in 1919.
This worked as later that year Kildavin/Clonegal won the junior title the first in their history. Since then the club has enjoyed many periods of success most notably in the 1960's and 1970's.
The catchment area for the club stretches over the whole parish of Clonegal/Kildavin from the fringes of Wicklow westward to Mount Leinster and includes north west Wexford and south Carlow.
Although they have players from three counties, most of those who play for the club are actually from the County Carlow parish.
Despite the obvious advantages to this, there are also disadvantages as lifelong club member Jim Treacy says: 'As a result of the catchment area we lose players to clubs in Wicklow and Wexford especially once they leave national school'.
Despite the fact that the club has players from three counties, it has never happened that club players have played for Wicklow or Wexford, or any county players turning out for Carlow.
Football and hurling have been a passion in the area for hundreds of years. The first team was recorded in Clonegal in 1888 and in Kildavin in 1894. It wasn't until 1914 that Kildavin set up a junior club. Their first match coming in July of that year against Rathvilly.
By 1964 the club reached the Carlow senior football final and two years later they became county champions beatingTullow. The club then reached a number of county finals in a successful period, but have not won since 1973.
At juvenile level there has been quite a level of success in recent years and I was lucky enough to be a part of winning teams at U12 and U14 level in both hurling and football.
In 1967 the club acquired Spellman Park which has since remained their home. In 2007 the redevelopment of the dressing rooms began and now Kildavin/Clonegal have an extremely modern sporting facility, with an indoor pitch, state-of-the-art gym, top class dressing rooms and spacious meeting rooms. The club continues to progress.
In the unique position of having players from three counties, there is no doubt that success should arrive for a club which is at the very heart of the community.