St Joseph’s Boys AFC is a schoolboy/girl football club based in Sallynoggin on the south side of Dublin. The club was founded in 1953 by Fr. Frank McCabe and Brendon Harmon to provide youth services through football for children in the greater Dun Laoghaire area. The club’s first match was played in the Phoenix Park. St Joseph’s has always been a progressive club and it opened its clubhouse, dressing rooms and showers in 1964. This football facility was further enhanced in 1975.
Fr. McCabe who was affectionately known as “The Revo” with his right hand man Brendon Harmon set out to recruit the best leaders from local youth clubs as they strived towards his vision of making St. Joseph’s one of the best clubs in the country. People like Terry & Joe Dunne, Jem Kelly, Des Kerr, Kevin Morris, Tommy Tallant, Mick Lambkin, Eamon Dignam, John King, Austin Mullen and many more were brought to manage teams as the club grew in size and stature.
Joey’s continued to grow in both reputation and size as the club won leagues and cups at all ages. Richard Cummins became our first schoolboy international and was quickly followed by Willie Fogarty, Ger Sayers and Jackie Vance. In 1964 our first clubhouse was built using voluntary labour as members and locals gave their services in the evenings and weekends to finish the project. 1966 was a landmark year for the club as the 15’s won our first FAI Cup and our teams embarked on their first trip abroad to London. Sean Sheehy won his first youth cap against England and later signed for Preston North End.
The 70’s will be remembered for winning every trophy in schoolboy football. Pat Devlin and Eugene Davis won Youths International caps. Under the guidance of Jimmy Whelan and Shay Farrelly, Joes produced the most successful team in the history of schoolboy football in Ireland. Collecting leagues and cups in all ages from 10 to 18. A string of schoolboy (Lar Mahony, Anto Whelan, Chippy Devlin, and Alan Campbell) and youth internationals (Anto Whelan, Des Kavanagh, John Murray, Dave Kane, Chippy Devlin, Alan Campbell) followed and our first full international Alan Campbell also came from this team. In one of the club’s most successful years on the pitch St Joseph’s Boys won the FAI youth cup and the Leinster Junior Cup in 1978. The club was awarded the title of Team of the Year by the Leinster Senior League. Our first partnership was born out of this success when John Giles the manager of Shamrock Rovers with Eamon Dunphy and Ray Tracy approached the club to become a nursery for Rovers. Three players signed for Rovers (Alan Campbell, Aidan McCluskey and Des Kavanagh). Anto Whelan and Dave Kane signed for Bohs and Chippy Devlin and Tony Clack signed for Shels.
The club continued to grow through the 80’s as we broadened our horizons by representing Dun Laoghaire in a tournament in Brest, France as part of the towns “Twinning Programme”. Honours in international tournaments followed and two players Keith Long and James Mulligan were snapped up by Stoke City after Willie Byrne guided the team to victory in the Keele International. Investment in facilities continued as we levelled and installed drainage on the so called new pitch. The 80’s also proved a very successful period for the Senior team who won at least one trophy in every year of the decade. Also at this time Anto Whelan signed for Manchester United while Alan Campbell signed for Racing Santander in La Liga
This decade will be remembered for the amount of Joes players who signed for UK clubs. Ronald O’Brien signed for Middlesboro and Juventus and Gary Smith signed for Sunderland. Two more players signed for Stoke City (James O’Connor and Clive Clarke, who both went on to play in the Premiership) followed by four players (Ciaran Ryan, Peter Murphy, Paul Forsyth and Michael Lawless) signing for Blackburn Rovers. We also set up a partnership with local National League club Bray Wanderers which included the introduction of a “School of Excellence Programme” in which Bray coaches delivered on a weekly basis. This programme led to a partnership with Newcastle United which was set up by Pat Devlin and Newcastle manager Kenny Dalglish. During this partnership four Joes players Stephen Brennan, Joe Kendrick, Thomas Hawkins and Neil signed for Newcastle.
This decade provided the club 6 more senior internationals with Peter Murphy, Alan O’Brien, Clive Clarke, Andy Keogh, Paul McShane and Eamon Zayed. Our purpose built facility was opened in 2003 to mark our fiftieth anniversary. The building was designed by local architect Deirdre Hartigan and was opened by “An Taoiseach” Bertie Ahern. A further partner was added when Gerry Egan thanked the city of Isumo, Japan for their hospitality shown to the Irish team during World Cup 2002. This led to the establishment of the Hibernia Trophy and two visits to Isumo by Joes as well as return visits by The City of Isumo selections to compete in the Hibernia Trophy. The new century marked the introduction of Girls teams into the club. Led by Ann Dodd & Francis Watts they brought a new dimension and vibrancy to the club as they played their way to successive FAI Cup finals. Amy Keating became our first ladies international and she also gained a football scholarship to the US as did Katherine Meaney and Shauna Pearle. During this decade we had short partnerships with Charlton Athletic, Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.
Over the years hundreds of Joes players have played in the National League of Ireland with distinction and many players have graced the Football League such as John Fitzgerald, Ian McGrain, Aidan Lyons, Graham Ward, Ian Morris, Alan Judge, Jay O’Shea, Gavin Gunning, Dylan Hayes, Sam Byrne, Robin Dempsey, Dan Casey. In the MSL Ronald O’Brien was selected on five consecutive “All Star” teams.
George Howard, Jackie Vance, Peter O’Toole, Ger Lynch, Pat (Lob) O’Connor, Chippy Devlin, Josh Moran, Pat Kelly, Alan Young, Jim Finnerty, Dan Connor, Darren Quigley