No Croke Park Without Frank Dineen

Jones's Road Became Croke Only By The Generosity of Limerickman - Frank Dineen from Ballylanders Who Paid £3,641/8/5d For The Venue In 1908

 

FRANK DINEEN - 1862 - 1916 - A NATIVE OF BALLYLANDERS,

CO. LIMERICK, WAS A NOBLE GAEL WHO BECAME PRESIDENT

OF THE G.A.A. - 1895 TO 1898 - AND HE ALSO ACTED AS THE

NEW ASSOCIATIONS GENERAL SECRETARY

 

Prior to 1908 the G.A.A. had no home of their own and Jones's Road was held on lease only. The first All Ireland finals were played at Birr Co. Offaly (hurling) and Clonskeagh, Co. Dublin (football) in 1888. Subsequent finals in hurling and football were played at various Dublin and provincial venues until 1895. Thereafter Jones's Road, Dublin, became the official All Ireland final venue with a few exceptions.

 

In 1908 the G.A.A. were offered first refusal on the option to purchase Jones's Road from their landlords. Despite the willingness of all the members to purchase the property, the purchase price of £3,641/8/5d was way outside the means of the G.A.A.

Resigned to the acceptance of the monetary facts, the G.A.A. began another search for a new field to lease, capable of catering for the present and future expansion of the promotion of gaelic cultural pastimes.

 

Unable to secure a property elsewhere for the funds on hand, the very existence of the G.A.A. was under threat and yet no solutions were forthcoming. Into the breach at the final hour came

a Limerickman Frank Dineen, who pledged his own finances and securities.

 

Frank was convinced that the fledgling association would be in a position to repay his kind gesture within a short period once Jones's Road was acquired. However the raising of the money became a huge burden and to keep up his repayments on the property, Frank was obliged to sell portion of the ground to keep himself afloat.

 

In May 1913 the annual Dr. Croke tournament featured Kerry and Louth in the football final and an enthralling contest was witnessed by 26,000 spectators. The game finished in a draw and the replay was so eagerly anticipated, a record crowd of 50,000 spectators turned up for the replay.

 

The gate receipts from the final and replay brought in over half the purchase price of Jones's Road and these funds were allocated to Frank Dineen with the shortfall borrowed.

The generous Limerickman sold the grounds to the G.A.A. at the original 1908 purchase price without any added charges for interest or goodwill.

 

Finally the G.A.A. had their own home and a familiar ground as their headquarters.

When nominations were sought for a name for the grounds, numerous members proposed Frank Dineen.

 

Frank rejected all such expressions of goodwill and his modesty forbade all approaches.

Jones's Road was preserved for G.A.A. fans and players and a great amount of gratitude is attributed to the pioneering Frank Dineen from Ballylanders, Co. Limerick.