Home Farm Football Club is an Irish football club based in Whitehall, Dublin. Originally founded in 1928, the club joined the League of Ireland in 1972 after merging with Drumcondra. Following this merger they were briefly known as Home Farm Drumcondra. Between 1995 and 1999 they played as Home Farm Everton before a spilt within the club saw the formation of Home Farm Fingal. In 2001 that club were renamed Dublin City. Dublin City remained in the League of Ireland while the original Home Farm reverted to junior status.
Home Farm is perhaps best known for its youth system which has successfully produced dozens of players who have gone onto play for clubs throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom. In addition many have also gone on to represent the Republic of Ireland at international level.
The origins of the club go back to the mid-1920s when Leo Fitzmaurice, the brother of Trans-Atlantic aviator James Fitzmaurice
, organised a street football league in the Drumcondra
area of the Northside Dublin
. This league originally featured five teams – Drumcondra Road
, Ormonde Road
, Hollybank Road
, Richmond Road
and Home Farm Road
. In 1928 the latter two, led by Don Seery and Brendan Menton Sr.
respectively merged to form Home Farm Football Club
. Menton later became president of the Football Association of Ireland
while Seery was the father of Ronan Seery, the founder of Dublin City
. The new club began to play their home games at Griffith Avenue, initially playing in black and gold stripes. However this was only because their first set of shirts were purchased at a jumble sale and these were the only colours available. By the next season, the colours were changed to blue and white hoops.
Home Farm soon established a reputation for developing schoolboys into senior international footballers. In 1936 when they won the Free State Minor Cup, the team included Johnny Carey
. By 1937 Carey, together with, Paddy Farrell
and Kevin O'Flanagan
, was one of at least three former Home Farm players who had become Irish internationals, having played for the FAI XI
. Carey and O'Flanagan made their debut in the same game against Norway
on November 7 1937, in a qualifier for the 1938 World Cup
. O'Flanagan even scored in the 3-3 draw. All three would also play for the IFA XI
. Carey went onto to become a legend at Manchester United
and was the first of several Home Farm graduates who established themselves at the club. In 1953 Liam Whelan
, one of the legendary Busby Babes
and among the victims of the Munich Air Disaster
, made the same journey. In 1957 he was followed by Johnny Giles
who then moved onto to become a leading player in the Leeds United
team of the 1960s and 1970s.
During the 1960s Home Farm produced twenty full internationals, including, among others, Paddy Mulligan. The clubs senior team also gained some minor successes. They won the FAI Intermediate Cup on three occasions in 1963, 1967 and 1968 and finished as runners up in both 1966 and 1970. In 1964 they also won the Leinster Senior Cup beating Dundalk in the final. Meanwhile Home Farm Under 14's under coach Joe Fitzpatrick earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for their match winning sequence of 79 games between 1968 and 1971.
League of Ireland
Home Farm and their trustees, Brendan Menton Sr.
and Don Seery, finally got a chance to field a senior team in the League of Ireland
when they merged with Drumcondra
. Drums were £6,000 in debt and regularly propping up the league table. After almost 20 years in charge, Sam Prole sold the club to the junior team down the road. As part of the deal Home Farm also gained Tolka Park
as home ground. Home Farm also agreed to keep the famous Drums name alive by playing under the name Home Farm Drumcondra
but, after just a year, they infuriated the Prole family by reverting to the name Home Farm. .
In 1975 Home Farm won the FAI Cup for the first and only time. With a team managed by Dave Bacuzzi and including Noel King, Martin Murray and Dermot Keely, they beat Dundalk, Cork Celtic and St Patrick's Athletic in earlier rounds before defeating Shelbourne 1-0 in the final at Dalymount Park. As a result they became the first amateur team to win the FAI Cup in forty years. The following season they competed in the European Cup Winners Cup, playing against French side, RC Lens. They drew 1-1 at home but lost the away leg 6-0.
Despite this cup success, their performances in the League of Ireland were poor and between 1972 and 1987, when they were relegated to the League of Ireland First Division, they never finished higher then ninth. Lack of league success, however, did not stop the club continuing to produce players such Liam Brady and Ronnie Whelan. During the 1980s Brady and Whelan became established players at Arsenal and Liverpool respectively and were both key members of the Republic of Ireland team under Jack Charlton.
Home Farm Everton
In 1995 Home Farm linked up with Everton F.C.
in a sponsorship deal which resulted in the club briefly becoming known as Home Farm Everton
. As part of the deal, Everton got first choice of the best Home Farm players and in 1996 they signed Richard Dunne
. At the end of the 1995-96
season Home Farm Everton
finished third in the First Division and then beat Athlone Town
in a promotion / relegation play-off and returned to the League of Ireland top division. During the subsequent season Steve Archibald
briefly played for the club. However after a poor performance against Derry City
, Archibald was allegedly told to “f*$k off back home” by then manager Dermot Keely
After just one season back in the top division, they were relegated. Keely subsequently guided the club to success in the League of Ireland First Division Shield
in 1998. The club continued to play as Home Farm Everton
In 1999 when the sponsorship deal with Everton F.C.
collapsed, Home Farm decided to abandon their League of Ireland ambitions. However Ronan Seery
, the club’s chief executive officer, persuaded the club to sell their franchise to him. This effectively resulted in a spilt within the club. Seery subsequently formed a new professional team, Home Farm Fingal
is an old name for an area corresponding approximately with Northside Dublin
. They took Home Farm Everton's place for the 1999-00
season before changing their name to Dublin City
. Meanwhile the amateur and youth sections began playing once again as Home Farm F.C.
and their senior team entered the Leinster Senior League
Home Farm U14’s
Despite the decline of Home Farm’s senior team, the U14’s continued to go strong, playing regularly in the Dublin and District Schoolboy League.
During the 1990s under coach Paddy Hilliard they went unbeaten for five years and under Gerry Garvan
they were went unbeaten for a further three years between 1999 and 2002. Along the way they won the Schoolboys FAI Cup twice. In 2002, Garvan took his team to play a Celtic
youth team in Glasgow
and Darren O'Dea
scored twice as Home Farm won 2-0. O'Dea, Diarmuid O'Carroll
, Gary Walsh
and Gareth Christie were already being tracked by Celtic youth development officer, Tommy Burns
, and all four were subsequently offered contracts. In addition Ipswich Town
became the latest English club to recognise Home Farm’s potential and they signed up goalkeeper Shane Supple
, defender Michael Synnott and midfielder Owen Garvan
. Another member of the team Chris McCann
signed for Burnley
In January 2000 Home Farm announced an arrangement with Leeds United
. At the time United featured several graduates of the Home Farm academy in their squad, most notably Gary Kelly
, Ian Harte
, Stephen McPhail
and Alan Maybury
. Under the arrangement, Leeds provided technical support to the Home Farm coaching team, led by Liam Tuohy
and Home Farm featured the Leeds crest on their shirts. A number of former Home Farm players such as Johnny Giles
had earlier played for Leeds. Another player who was on the books of both clubs as a junior goalkeeper was Nicky Byrne
, later to find success as a singer with Westlife
In February 2005 Home Farm unveiled a €1,000,000 sponsorship deal with several groups, most notably Renault Ireland
The aim of the investment was to establish the club as a major soccer academy on a European scale. It was planned for the money to be invested in the club over the following three years.
The Irish Department of Sports, Arts and Tourism, the Irish Youth Foundation and the club president, Sir Anthony O’Reilly
will also contribute to the fund.
Renault Ireland chairman Bill Cullen
, the driving force behind the new deal, is a former Home Farm player.
As part of the arrangement Home Farm jerseys featured the Renault logo alongside the club's distinctive crest.
Notable Former Players
Notable Former Coaches
- Dublin and District Schoolboy League
- FAI Junior Cup
- Free State Minor Cup
- Schoolby FAI Cup
- Milk Cup