Photo of Croke Park cake: GAA (via Twitter)
The GAA is today celebrating the centenary of its purchase of a humble field on Jones’s Road, which nowadays goes by the name of Croke Park. The previous owner was Frank Dineen (he of Dineen Hill 16 fame, who in his time served as both President and General Secretary of the GAA) who bought what was then the City and Suburban Racecourse in 1908.
Frank Dineen paid £3,250 for the 14-acre plot that year and wisely opted not to build apartments on it but instead secured it with the aim of providing a suitable long-term home for the GAA. Five years later, the organisation relieved him of the title deeds in return for £3,500 (which may or may not be worth £277,385.08 in today’s money – according to this CPI calculator) and the rest, as the old cliché goes, is history. A piece on the 100th anniversary is available on the GAA website – here.
I know we’ve had plenty of disappointments down the years at Croke Park but we’ve equally had plenty of good days there too. Our first appearance at the venue was, from what I can see, in 1916 and a winning appearance it was too, as we bested Cork by 1-2 to 1-1 in the All-Ireland semi-final, played on 19th of November that year. Before you ask – yes, we did go on to lose the final, going under to Wexford by 3-4 to 1-2 at HQ on 17th December 1916.