Leixlip United AFC

Founded 1969

Co. Kildare

Club History

Although Leixlip United was officially formed in 1969, there was life before 1969. Stalwarts such as Michael Ginnetty and Seamus Lawlor constantly remind us of that fact. The Club had existed in 1959/60,1960/61 and 1961/62 seasons before a shortage of local players caused the Club to fold. A team called Ormeau arrived in Leixlip in the early sixties and everyone interested in playing soccer joined this club.George Bendal an ex-Manchester goalkeeper was the main man. Local players at that time included Dave Kelly, Daithi Heffernan, Theo Watkins later to become an International Youth goalkeeper and Christy Maher. When George died in 1966 the club folded .

In 1969, their first season Leixlip United fielded two senior teams, playing in A.U.L. Div. 3A Sun. and Leinster Junior League Counties Div. John Giltrap  was the first manager. Our present Club President Brian Watters was the trainer. During the next couple of seasons the 1st team set up a very impressive record going fifty-eight league games undefeated. This run brought the team through the A.U.L. Div. 2 and the A.U.L. Div. 1 as winners.

The Club fielded the first schoolboy team in 1970/71, an Under 14 team in the Dublin and District Schoolboy League, managed by Sean Purcell. From 1974/75 season the housing boom in Leixlip gave the schoolboy section the opportunity to grow. That year the club fielded three teams, a 12 Div. 0, managed by Ray McCauley and Bracey Daniels, a 15E side managed by  Larry Harte and a Youths team managed by Michael Farnan and Larry Kenny.

For many years the Club were soccer nomads moving from ground to ground with no proper home. We first commenced playing on a pitch at the Green lane where Scoil Mhuire and Scoil Bhride now stand. This pitch had been acquired as parish land for the building of schools. When the builders moved in  , we used the portion of the land where Scoil Eoin Phoil is to day. The seniors moved on to a pitch at Newtown where the Avondale houses are now built. The schoolboys continued to play at the Green lane , but the senior’s next port of call was Dodsboro in Lucan with the kind co-operation of Lucan United. In 1975 the Club accepted the kind offer from the Hon. Desmond Guinness and set up a home for the seniors at the Castle grounds. The entrance was at the back of the Ryevale Tavern.  Many hours were spent hacking out steps leading up to the wooden steps used to scale the wall. In October 1979 we saw the formation of Leixlip Amenities Group. The Group was representative of the various clubs and organisations seeking sporting and recreational facilities for Leixlip. L.A.G. set about the raising of finance. Kildare County Council gave a commitment to purchase amenity land provided a local contribution of 25% was forthcoming. Leixlip United committed practically all their funds to the venture. Thirty acres of land were purchased in July 1980. Leixlip United were allocated space. The schoolboys moved to the Amenities in November 1982 and made it their permanent base. Kildare Co.Co. made two mobile homes available for £40. The seniors continued to play on the Castle Grounds during the 1982/83 and 1983/84 seasons before they too moved to the Amenities Centre in 1984/85. During the 1984/85 season with the increased number of teams and the unavailability of the allocated pitches due to drainage problems the Club was in trouble again.

St. Mary’s G.A.A. Club came to the rescue and allowed the Club the use of their allocated land at the Amenities. Colaiste Chiarain also gave the use of the school pitch. Drainage work was now a matter of urgency but finance was required to undertake the work. Through the undertakings of the late Tony Mullins, Paddy Conway and David Savage a £25,000 loan was secured through the A.I.B. and the initial work could begin. Tony used his time and expertise in getting the best contractor for the job and oversaw the whole project. Brian Fitzmaurice used his best negotiating skills to secure a £10,000 grant from the F.A.I. and Michael Murphy our Treasurer took care of the cash being accumulated for the project through various fund-raising activities and ensured that payments met the required schedule. During this time we acquired the use of two pitches opposite the Amenities on lease from Kildare Co.Council. and The Hon. Desmond Guinness provided a pitch at the Celbridge Road. The hard work came to fruition in 1990/91 as three excellent pitches and an all-weather training area became available. Leixlip Amenities Group approached the Club in 1986 about running a second monster draw to finance the building of a new reception area and dressing rooms. The draw was a success and the building progressed. This gave the Club the use of  changing rooms and showers. Sunday September 8th was a historic day for Leixlip United and Leixlip Amenities Group when An t-Uachtaran Mary Robinson visited for the joint opening of the new extension and the new pitches. At last we had a home of our own.

Ladies football started in 1983 with Oaklawn West playing friendly matches against Leixlip Park and Oaklawn Close. John Bradley and Hugh McGinley put the ladies through their paces in the Amenities. The Senior Ladies came to prominence in the 1985 season when the Club fielded a Senior Ladies side with the team winning the Leinster Ladies Div. 5 League. Managers John Bradley and Declan Purcell were at the helm. The following year the ladies entered two teams, the team of last season were promoted to DIV. 3 where they finished runners-up. The 2nd team managed by John Kenny and Donal O Reilly replaced the 1st team in Div. 5.

The Schoolgirl Section commenced their campaign in 1985 and . They started with an Under 15 side, managed by Frances Keely, Ann Slevin and Betty Murray with Michael Delaney as coach. For a period between 1989 and 1994  the schoolgirls section were all conquering. From Under 12 to Under 18 they accumulated twenty-four awards including All Ireland Cup Winners, National Indoor Winners, Inter League  Runners-up, League Winners, League Runners-up and  Leinster Cup Winners.

This is but a very brief extract from the History of Leixlip United. Some copies of the 319-page book covering the Period 1969-1994 are still available from the Club.

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