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Naas GAA donate oldest club minutes to HQ

James Durney

On Friday 15 February 2013 the oldest club minutes in the country were officially presented by members of Naas GAA to the GAA Museum, Dublin. After a fine lunch in the clubhouse a large delegation of club members attended Croke Park for an official presentation of the minutes. Museum archivist Mark Reynolds said he was delighted to get the minutes, as they were the oldest club minutes in existence and the second oldest minutes in the GAA, the oldest being Dublin County Board minutes. The archivist said the Kildare minutes were just beaten by Dublin minutes, to which clubman Jackie Bracken remarked that was often so on the field, too.
Naas G.A.A. was founded on 16 October 1887 in the Town Hall, Naas, by James Moran ‘Dents’ Ginnane. It was Ginnane who purchased the minute books and was responsible for the early entries up to his resignation as secretary due to pressure of business on 20 March 1888. However, he remained on the committee until May 1888. The last meeting Ginnane attended was on 11 April 1888.
The Minute Book from 16 October 1887 to 19 November 1889 was transcribed by Liam McManus. The minutes contain paper cuttings from the Leinster Leader and written accounts of the various club meetings and general meetings. Leinster Leader reports of the founding meeting, the first committee meeting on Sunday 23 October, in the Town Hall, and the second committee meeting in the Leinster Leader office on 26 October are pasted into the first page of the Minute Book. The first minutes in Ginnane’s handwriting – transcribed by Liam – were of a meeting on 1 November 1887. After Ginnane’s resignation P. J. Doyle was appointed Honourary Secretary. He lived at South Main Street, Naas, and later at Yomanstown. Doyle was the only person to hold all three positions at the County Board. He was Treasurer in 1887, Secretary in 1888 and Chairman in 1889. It was in Yomanstown that the minutes remained until the early 1950s when they were found as the Doyle family moved to Dublin. The minutes were given to Tom Murphy, who worked at Yomanstown, and he passed them on to Chris Glennon. Chris passed the minutes on to Liam McManus in the late 1980s.
Liam said, ‘Reading old minutes can be tedious and sometimes boring, but these minutes paint a social history of Naas at that time just after the GAA was founded and just before the Parnell split. They tell the story of a club trying to establish itself on the playing field and in the community. The struggle for finance to run the club. The political tendencies of some of its most prominent members as indicated by its name Naas GAA John Dillons. It portrays the conflicts that existed within the club and with other unregistered teams in Naas during the early years of the Gaelic Athletic Association. It is a privilege to have such a tangible link to our past.’
‘Of all the photographs, articles and mementoes that I have uncovered relating to Naas GAA this Minute Book is my most cherished item. Club members have often heard me refer to them as “gold Dust.” I am sad to see them go, but I know the GAA Museum is the right place for them.’

A copy of the Minute Book was donated by Liam to Kildare Collections and Research Services, based in Newbridge Library.

On Friday 15 February 2013 the oldest club minutes in the country were officially presented by members of Naas GAA to the GAA Museum, Dublin.

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