The Gaelic Football and Hurling Association of South Australia (formerly the Gaelic Athletic Association of South Australia) was formed in 1967. Originally, Gaelic Football and Hurling matches were played on a social basis in the parklands that surround the city of Adelaide. In 1967, the GAA was formally established and a “home ground” was obtained at TK Shutter Reserve, Klemzig approx 10km northeast of the city of Adelaide. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, matches were also regularly played at Elizabeth, 20km north of Adelaide, and Christies Beach, 20km south of Adelaide.

During the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Irish immigration to South Australia was strong which allowed for a good competition with a large number of supporters. Each year approx 6 teams competed in the Gaelic Football and Hurling competitions with around 100-150 participants. Our State was instrumental in establishing the Gaelic Athletic Association of Australasia in the early 1970’s. Its annual convention is still held in Adelaide and our State continues to play a significant role in this body. Each year, South Australia competed in the Australasian Gaelic Football and Hurling Championships and hosted a number of very successful games.

The mid 80’s saw a steady increase in non-Irish Australian participants of all ethnic backgrounds.

Over time, the Irish community aged and there was less Irish immigration to South Australia due to lack of job opportunities. Australian Rules football has always been extremely popular in Adelaide, even amongst our own members, and in 1991 the entry of the first Adelaide team into the Australian Football League (AFL) occurred. These factors resulted in a decline in both player and spectator numbers then when a second team entered the AFL in 1997 our Association was on the brink of collapse. No longer could we play our games on Sunday afternoons in winter, directly clashing with AFL games being played in Adelaide or being televised live on TV.

A major restructuring of our organization’s activities was required, and fast.

The major changes that were implemented in 1997 were the move to a summer season and the introduction of a 7-a-side competition. Other changes included a "pay as you play system" with incentives to Clubs for providing match officials and the interchange system, whilst retaining all other playing rules. The games were played at TK Shutter Reserve at Klemzig on Wednesday and Friday evenings with three men’s 15-a-side teams and five men’s 7-a-side teams. The Association struggled to attract spectators and sufficient players, particularly for the 15-a-side competition. However, the 7-a-side competition was moderately successful and eventually proved the saviour of the Association.

After 30 years at TK Shutter Reserve, the decision was made in 1998 to move all games from Klemzig. We also decided the only way to grow would be to concentrate on the 7-a-side competition. January 1998 was the beginning of the revival of Gaelic Football in South Australia.

The Association moved all games to Brighton Rugby Club in a beachside suburb approximately 10km southwest of Adelaide. The excellent bar and clubroom facilities and the ability to play games under-lights on Friday nights resulted in an influx of new players and teams from other football codes, and with them a large number of spectators. Many people from the Irish community that we hadn't seen for some time heard about the revival, were happy with what they saw and became involved again in Gaelic Football.

Seven 7-a-side men’s teams competed in the season from January to March 1999 and, for the first time in South Australia women’s Gaelic Football was played each week thanks to a small but dedicated group of women.

At around this time we received encouragement and tangible support from the GAA in Croke Park, Ireland through Joe McDonough (then President), Pat Daly, Debbie Massey and the players in the Irish Under 17 and Senior touring squads for the International series. The International Rules games played in October provided an enormous boost for our Association. The overwhelming interest in the series, which saw over 47,000 fill Football Park in Adelaide, followed through to our local competition.

The 1999/2000 season began in late October 1999 with seven men’s teams and five women’s teams at Brighton playing 9-a-side football. Despite having programs set for the early 2000 season, an additional team was entered into the competition, which was expanded to 11-a-side. Games were now being played on Friday nights and Sunday evenings and membership soared to almost 300, the highest figure in the 33-year history of the Association.

During the time of rebuilding, a number of other changes were made to ensure the future of the Association. A permanent office area was established in the city at a building for state sporting associations owned by the South Australian Government. We also now obtain regular funding from the South Australian Government, most recently $7,500 for the development of a school’s program, which saw Gaelic Football introduced to a number of Adelaide schools. We were the first Association in Australasia to have an official website and we developed a 5-year strategic plan with many targets achieved in the first 3 years. On the administration side, the Association is strong with a full committee of unique characters, comprising a vibrant blend of youth and experience.

The Association has continued from strength to strength. In October 2000 we hosted a very successful Australasian Championships. The Championships saw the SA senior and minor teams compete for first time in 5 times and the first ever South Australian ladies Gaelic Football team. South Australia has been increasingly successful in the past few years, with the Minor team winning the Championships in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and the Senior’s making the Grand Final in both 2003 and 2005. The Women’s team continues to improve and was particularly competitive in 2005 making the Semi Finals.

Playing numbers continued to grow at such a rate that in 2001 we availed of the opportunity to sign a long term lease at a new ground “St. Mary’s Park” which is approximately 12 kms. South of the city. With financial assistance from the local Council and Croke Park along with our own funding a massive upgrade of the floodlights was completed. At St. Mary’s we have our own licensed clubrooms and a first rate playing facility with no entrance charge for those wishing to see Gaelic games.

To accommodate the growing number of players in the northern suburbs we also in 2001 licensed a local Australian Rules Club known as GAZA to conduct a 9 a side competition on Friday evenings. Whilst the association controls the competition and provides advice and expertise, GAZA organise all matters on match night for which they are recompensed.

For further information visit our website at: www.gaelicfootballSA.com.au

OR Contact:

President

Lee Hayes

president@gaelicfootballsa.com.au

Secretary

Rachel Brick

secretary@gaelicfootballsa.com.au




SOUTH  AUSTRALIAN  CLUBS

CLUB  NAME
Teams
CLUB CONTACT

FLINDERS O'NEILLS

Mens Football Team

 

Ben Dujmovic

benjamin.dujmovic@police.sa.gov.au

Flinders O'Neills Gaelic Football Club

IRISH AUSTRALIANS

Mens & Womens Football Teams

Matthew Doecke

mdoecke@raains.com.au

MITCHAM HAWKS

 

Matt Cleggett -TBA

Mitcham Hawks Gaelic Football Team

NA FIANNA

Mens & Womens Football Teams

 

Maureen Lawlor  

mlawlor@dmfasteners.com

Na Fianna Gaelic Football Club

ONKAPARINGA

Mens & Womens Football Teams

Michelle O'Brien

Michelle.Obrien@police.sa.gov.au

Visit us on Facebook

PORT DISTRICTS

 

Steven Clay

oozley@hotmail.com

ST. BRENDAN'S

Mens Football Team

Mike Zaluski

zeusorzedz@hotmail.com

WESTERN IRELAND

Mens & Womens Football Teams

 

 

Jon Floreani

jonflo9@hotmail.com

Western Ireland Gaelic Footy Club aka
The Purple & Green Loving Machine