The History of Home Farm Football Club

Home Farm Football Club was founded in the Drumcondra/Whitehall area of North Dublin in 1928. It had a unique beginning. In the mid 1920’s, Leo Fitzmaurice was concerned about the lack of recreational facilities in the locality. His public spirit inspired him to organise a streets soccer league for youngsters who lived in the district – Home Farm Rd., Drumcondra Rd., Richmond Rd., Hollybank Rd. and Ormonde Rd.  Leo Fitzmaurice was a brother of the legendary Irish pioneer Trans-Atlantic flyer, Colonel James Fitzmaurice. In setting his streets league tournament to provide a modest recreational outlet for the young people of the district, I feel sure that Leo had no conception that two of the teams involved would merge and develop over the years into one of Ireland’s leading Schoolboy Football Clubs. Nor can he have any idea of the major influence the club would have on Irish sport. The Home Farm Club was, in truth, born from very modest beginnings. The original home ground of the Home Farm Road team consisted of a ‘rhubarb patch’ at the rear of Kilronan House (where the Skylon Hotel now stands) and a nearby field, (owned by a Mr. Butterly), on which a housing development known as Home Farm Park is now situated. The first clubhouse was the home of the five Menton boys, who were members of the Home Farm Road team and lived just opposite the entrance to the playing fields. The new development was brought about by a burst football. Just as the season was beginning in 1928, the Richmond Road team were without a ball. On a Friday evening, three boys from the Richmond Road team – Don Seery, Jack Donovan and Walter Cummins called to the Menton home at 31 Home Farm Road with the news that their ball had burst and that they would be pleased to play for the Home Farm Road team on the following day. Richmond Road almalgamated with Home Farm Road. The Club, now known as Home Farm across the world, came into being at that moment. Long before mergers became fashionable, one was fortuitously created by these youngsters for the soundest of economic reasons. Footballs and football gear were highly-prized possessions in those far-off days in impoverished Ireland.  The newly-combined club now needed suitable grounds for its expanded membership. The only ground available nearby at the time was a field rented from Mr. Butterly by a local victualler, Patrick Geraghty. The field was used to graze cattle awaiting export to the United Kingdom. The sharing of the field by man and beast brought about its own difficulties – while the cattle were continually frightened by the footballers, the footballers were continually frightened by Mr. Geraghty!  The playing field problem was eventually solved when the local Church gave the Club permission to use a ground bordering on Griffith Ave., pending the construction of a new Church. The change of site to play football called for a change of dressing rooms. Mr. I.J. Murphy, the first Chairman of the Club, together with his sons Tom, (later Fr. Tom) and Brendan, who were to become members of the Club, came to the rescue and gave the footballers the use of their garage for the purpose.  With the acquisition of the temporary ground in Griffith Ave., the members of the Club, with the help of supporters, got down to the mammoth task of levelling the uneven and hilly pitch. Meanwhile, the young playing members held their first raffle and managed to raise the princely sum of twenty-eight shillings, (€1.40), which was used to purchase a set of jerseys. The original band of players who pioneered the way forward were decked out in black and gold. The colours were in no way selected by choice. The jerseys were obviously a job lot obtained at a bargain price at a jumble sale. By the very next season, the colours were changed to blue and white hoops. They have remained unchanged to this very day.