Castleknock to tell their 20-year GAA story

by James Hendicott

CASTLEKNOCK will mark their relatively short but eventful 20-year history in the new year as they put pen to paper to chronicle the remarkable rise of the Somerton club in a new book.
It will be released to coincide with the opening of their new clubhouse in 2018 with proceeds going to long-time club charity, the St Francis Hospice. The working title is ‘The Castleknock GAA Story’.
“It’s not a traditional club history book,” PRO Paddy Hewson, part of a team of seven curating the text, told the Dublin Gazette.
“It will have all our big days covered with stories told from the perspective of members and fans. It will be quite anecdotal in that sense.
“We’ll be looking to bring in lots of members, talking about the big and small days out, why they joined, why they stayed, as well as some of the stories around their experiences.
“There have been some huge moments in establishing the club. I think a lot of people will relate to some of the problems we’ve faced, the obstacles in getting going and how we grew. The opening of the clubhouse will be an important moment, as it will give us a meeting place.
“Of course, making the Dublin senior football final against St Vincent’s [in 2016] was huge for the club in establishing us. That day caused such a buzz in the area, one that people won’t forget easily.
“It marked the maturing of the club and, since then, it’s been about proving that getting to that final wasn’t a flash in the pan, that we’re a serious threat at senior level.”
There have been other great moments, of course, from Ciaran Kilkenny’s establishment at the heart of the most successful ever Dublin side – “he’s a great ambassador for the club” – to the day the ladies played two championship finals in the same evening.
“That came almost in tandem with the men’s success,” Hewson recalls. “It was a seminal moment for the club, even though we lost both finals by a point.
“We’ve also had a camogie promotion again this year, and juvenile success, as well as some Feile success at a national level in the past.
“We’ll be covering all of those, but also looking at the foundations of the club, something I think a lot of clubs will relate to. The people who were there at the start will all be part of it.
“We’ll also be talking to players who played against us in big games and players now living in London, Dubai and Australia, like Deborah Geraghty, one of our first female players, who’s now based in Australia.
“Aisling Rafferty, who’s been playing with Castleknock since she was a kid, so been there all along, is part of the team putting together the book.”
The success of Castleknock, who have risen from Division 9 to serious contender in the Dublin senior football over the course of their short lifetime, is a great model for other newly-established clubs. The pace of progress is only set to continue.
“The opening of the clubhouse is the next big step, and the completion of years of the Somerton project, which has been backed financially and through their own professional expertise by our club members,” Hewson explains.
“Their backing has been so critical. The book will tell all those story, letting the members tell us what it’s been like for them.”

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