The following is from an article by Declan Fitzpatrick, to mark the 75th anniversary of the club.
“We gather tonight to mark the 75th anniversary of a rather unique hurling club. We are of course a little late with our celebrations, but as Tom Maxwell would say ‘lets not get too hung up on punctuality’
The present Civil Service Club was actually founded in 1923. The first hurling practice took place in October at the former British Army Polo grounds on the Navan Road. Among the founder members were three brothers, Seamus, Chriostoir and Sean O’Braonain.
The name Sean O’Braonain was of course to become synonymous with Civil Service Hurling club. Sean gave extraordinary service to the club including many years as chairman. He stepped down as chairman in 1973 when he was succeeded by Jackie Hennigan. Sean was then elected president of the club, a position he held until his death on the 30th December 1983 at the age of 84. Sean also served as chairman of the Dublin Co Board between 1939 and 1946
The other founder members were; Art O’Driscoll, Tadgh Casey, Padraigh OhAodha, Liam Malone, Joe Crossan, J.Lennon, Harry McHugh, Tom Mchugh, Colm O’Sullivan, Harry Carrick, Dennis O’Sullivan, Paddy McCarthy and Seamus Murphy.
The Club played its first match in the Dublin Junior hurling league on the 19th of May 1924 against ‘Pioneers’ and lost by two goals. The new club was not long in achieving success. In 1926 they won the junior league and championship without losing a game. In 1929 the Intermediate league was added to the list of honours and thus Civil Service hurlers achieved senior status.
In 1934 Service won an under-21 league, which will come as a surprise to present day members.
In 1935 Service won the Corn Ceitin in a most unusual manner. Having received a walk over in the semi final from Crokes, Service played Banba in the final that ended in a draw. In the meantime Crokes persuaded the board to refix their semi final and so Service were now forced to play Crokes. Justice was done when Service beat Crokes and then went on to win the replayed final against Banba.
In 1948 Service lost their senior status but quickly regained it by winning the 1949 intermediate championship. The panel included : Larry Staines, Col Murphy, Paddy Crowley, Paddy Murphy, Donie Ryan, Mick Shalloe, Pakie Brennan, Finbar Carroll, Tadgh Donavan, Owen Ryan, Larry Doyle, Sean O’Mahoney, Liam Mc Andrew and Gerry Houlihan. Four of the above panel won Leinster Championship medals with he Dublin Junior team in 1950.
In 1949 Service also won the Corn Ceitin while the junior team was defeated in the finals of both league and championship.
1952 saw both junior and senior teams doing well. The junior team won the A league and Smyth Cup. The senior team played outstandingly during the championship and beat all opposition with comparative ease including a star studded ‘Young Irelands’ side in the semi final. Service saw themselves hot favourites entering a senior championship final against St Vincent’s. However the big occasion did not go well for Service. The pressure was all too much for a team only recently restored to senior ranks and playing in its first ever senior final. Sadly Service’s only appearance in a senior county final ended in defeat. The majority of this side played inter county hurling at one time or another. The team was as follows. Larry Stynes (Wicklow), Frank Foley , Paddy Crowley (Dublin), Mick Shalloe (Clare), Jim Dermody (Laois), Donal Whelan (Waterford), Brendan Brennan (Wicklow), Con Murphy (Dublin & Cork), Austin Hannon (Clare), Tommy Barry, Ned O’Driscoll, Sean O’Mahony, Barry Houlihan, Colm Murphy, Liam McAndrew (Dublin), Subs: Paddy Nolan, Jim Roche, Mossy Long, Mick Curneen and Jim Crowley.
Despite the loss of many of the best players on the 1952 senior team, Service continued to be one of the top Dublin teams throughout the 1950’s. In 1952 Service were defeated in the semi final of the senior championship again by St Vincent’s. In the same year Service won the senior league. 1958 saw the junior team collect the Millar Shield trophy and this was the last of the trophies for the 1950’s.
The 1960’s brought two consecutive championship victories. In 1961 the junior championship was won and in 1962 Service made the intermediate championship their own!! The 1960’s saw new difficulties facing the Civil Service and the other Dublin clubs who depended on players from the country resident in Dublin. The reasons that made it difficult to field top class teams included, the advent of the five day week, the allowing of players resident outside their native county to play with that county, transport to the provinces was more easily available. These factors and others ended the era of fellows arriving in Dublin from the country in the summer and not travelling home again until Christmas.
1964 saw Service collect their last set of trophies for the 1960’s (In County Board Competitions) This victory was in the Senior league Division Two. The winning team was as follows: Cathal Hurley Seamus Fleming, Mick Hough, Mick Kenny Tom Barry, Jim Phelan, Jim Sheehan Pascal O’Rourke, Tom Collins Tony Doyle, Jack Hennigan, John Murphy Pat Hannifan, Tim McAuliffe, Jim O’Mahony. Many of this team gave long and sterling service to the club. Some members of this team also took an active part in the administration of the club in the 1970’s.
After 1964 the club entered a very lean spell as far as trophies were concerned. However the absence of trophies cannot take from the fact the club continued to play a prominent part in Dublin hurling at both senior and junior levels during the 1960’s and 1970’s. The senior team had a number of near misses in the championship during this period particularly in 1966 and 1973. Many people here tonight will remember the bitter disappointment of 1973 when victory was snatched in the last second by a Faughs team which went on to win the championship. 1973 also saw the senior pipped at the post for division two league honours. They did however win promotion to the first division of the league.
The long wait for trophies ended when the junior team won the Junior A league in 1976. The junior team had been performing very well since 1970 and the league victory in 1976 was well merited and long overdue. They won all their league game in 1976 and only lost one game the previous year.
After 1976 the club went through a long spell without winning any silverware. Then in 1983 the clubs fortune changed again. The trophies rolled in for four years in a row as follows: 1983 – Intermediate League Top Four Winners 1984 – Intermediate League 1985 – Junior League 1986 – Intermediate Championship 1986 – Intermediate League 1986 – Doyle Cup 1986 – Naas Tournament 1986 – Leixlip Tournament.
1986 must rank as one of the most successful years in modern times. The team of 86 was captained by the great Gerry Butler – the same Gerry Butler who still wears the number 6 jersey. The 1986 Intermediate team contained many players who had given long and sterling service to the club. The panel was as follows: Dave Behan, Tom Cuddy, Stephen Griffin, Jim Carew, John McNamara, Larry Kinsella, Peter Scully, Gerry Butler, Seamus Power, Gerry Crowley, Pascal Moran, Danny Burke, Seamus Mannion, Jim Power, Seamus Hough, Tom Maxwell, Tommy Carew, Denis O’Connor, Joe O’Grady, Declan Fitzpatrick, Tom Pender, Gerry Delaney.
The following year saw the club back in senior ranks. Unfortunately by 1989 many of the very successful 1986 team had retired or moved out of Dublin. The club had dropped to one team only. In fact the club came very close to going out of existence in 1989/1990. However we managed to weather the storm and so here we are still going strong in a new century.”