The history of Australian Football in Ireland is a relatively short one. While there has long been links between the GAA and the AFL/VFL, and while a number of Irish players played in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s, most notably South Dubliner Jim Stynes, footy on a recreational level in Ireland has only existed since 1999. The Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI) was founded in 2000, laying the platform for the development of the sport throughout the country.
Australian Football has been played in South Dublin since 2002, with the formation of the South Dublin Eagles Football Club. That club competed successfully for four years, enjoying premiership success in 2004. However dramas on and off the field took their toll and some of the players who had kept the club going through 2005 decided that a fresh start was needed.
The South Dublin Swans Football Club was formed in early 2006 by a number of former South Dublin Eagles players, including Craig Wood and Michael Oakes. Choosing the moniker "Swans" came through a contact at that AFL club being able to secure training jumpers from Sydney, as well as some footballs. With Sydney's generous support the South Dublin Swans took to the field for the first time on 22 April 2006 in Terenure against the West Dublin Saints. The club enjoyed an unbeaten debut season domestically, guided to ARFLI premiership success by player coaches Craig Wood and Ben Fitzsimmons. The only defeat the Swans suffered that season was to the Reading Kangaroos in the final of the Scania Cup in Landskrona, Sweden.
The arrival in South Dublin of David Scott in 2008 was another significant milestone in the history of the Swans as Scotty became the club’s player coach and driving force for the next five seasons, contributing massively to the development of the South Dublin Swans and indeed ARFLI. In 2010 the Swans made the short journey across the R137 Terenure road to their current home ground at Bushy Park, although they continue to train at Terenure rugby club in Lakelands.
In the last few seasons the club has continued to drive forward, backboned by a group of long serving players who maintain the club's open and welcoming culture for all new players and members as well as a keen desire for success on the footy field.
Throughout their history the Swans have consistently contested finals footy whilst evolving from a club which started its existence with a strong core of Australian players to one which is now almost entirely indigenous in its make-up. The club continually strives to attract and develop new players and with continued hard work and commitment will hopefully enjoy a successful future to match its successful past!
Past & Present Presidents
2006 – 2007: Michael Oakes (Aus)
2008 - 2009: Damien Herbert (Aus)
2010 – 2011: Bryce Fraser (Aus)
2012 – 2014: Edward Warren (Irl)
2015: Paul O Halloran (Irl)
2016 - Present: Patrick Cummins (Irl)
Past & Present Coaches
2006: Craig Wood & Ben Fitzsimmons (both Aus)
2007: Ross Slater (Aus)
2008 - 2012: David Scott (Aus)
2013 – 2015: Martin Ryan & Darren Shiels (both Irl)
2016: Martin Ryan, Darren Shiels & Craig Wood (Irl & Aus)
2017 - Present: Martin Ryan & John Brennan (both Irl)
Best & Fairest Winners
2009: Paul O'Halloran (Irl)
2010: Mick Hurley (Irl)
2011: Thomas Russell (Irl)
2012: Paul O'Halloran (Irl)
2013: Grayson (Guido) Stopp (Aus)
2014: Mick Hurley / Paul O'Halloran (Irl) joint winners with equal votes
2015: Paul O'Halloran (Irl)
2016: Levi Kalms (Aus)