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Sky's the limit for super Stars

They play in view of one of Dublin's most famous landmarks. Stars of Erin GAA club is just a stone's throw away from the highest pub in Ireland, Johnny Foxes!

Since 1903, they have served the community of Glencullen and the surrounding parish and continue to do so. Numbers have been a problem at various times over their history, but with the development of a juvenile structure just over 10 years ago, Stars can now look forward with confidence.

Club chairman and adult team manager Maudge McHugh spoke to the Herald last week and was quick to point out how important the juvenile section is to securing their future: "We formed a juvenile section about 10 years ago.

"For years we didn't have any juvenile teams. It started with a bit of coaching in the schools and grew from there. St Patrick's National School in Glencullen is our main feeder school. David Gill is the coach in the school and Jason Sinclair.

"We are doing very well now. We have teams from U8 to U12 and we started hurling three years ago and it is coming along very well."

McHugh also believes the success of the Dublin senior football and hurling teams as well as the various underage successes in both codes over the past number of years has helped get children down to play GAA in the club.

The next big thing on Stars' agenda, however, is to improve their facilities, but they have plans in place to achieve that aim.

"We have been just using a container (as dressing rooms)," he explained.

"But we also have the national school there and we can use their hall for the younger children when the weather is bad.

The council have also developed a new astro turf pitch in Stepaside and we are going to use that as well.



Planning

"We are after getting planning for our own clubhouse now, too, but raising money is the next thing.

"We have a weekly lotto and things like that, but it's not easy to sell tickets in this day and age."

Given that Stars of Erin are a country club, but still in close proximity to other GAA powerhouses, getting players down is an issue but something McHugh says is improving.

"It's a big parish but we have clubs like Naomh Olaf and Ballinteer St John's around us too," he mused.

"But I suppose we do get a few up from Sandyford and things like that. The schools there are full and so they come out to Glencullen to school and we get them in that way."

Going forward, McHugh is hopeful that their juvenile section will continue to grow and feed through to the adult team.

"We won the Junior 'D' Championship a few years back, but we haven't pushed on for whatever reason," he said.

"The big thing is to get under-16 and minor teams and trying to get them up to adult level then.

"We also have a good ladies section and that's come along brilliantly so far so hopefully that will continue as well."