Articles (22)


The South Dublin Swans Football Club has won five ARFLI premierships over the course of the club’s ten year existence.

The club’s first premiership season in 2006 was a hugely successful one, remaining undefeated home and away throughout the season and marching on to Grand Final success in St. James Park, Kilkenny against the Leeside Lions, with stylish half forward Stephen 'Wes' Fellowes putting in a 'Best on Ground' performance on the back of a stellar goalkicking display. Other goal scorers included Ben Fitzsimmons, Steven 'Tugger' Waugh, John Aherne and Craig Wood. Their comfortable wins over the Dublin Demons in the semi final and the Lions in the grand final was a measure of the dominance the Swans enjoyed in their debut season, with no other club coming within 30 points of them all season.

The Swans contested two further Grand Finals in 2007 and 2009, losing both, to the Leeside Lions and Dublin Demons respectively. In 2007, the Lions exacted revenge for their grand final defeat of the previous year, while in 2009 the Demons defeated the Swans to win back to back premierships.

After a three year drought the Swans claimed their second premiership title in 2010, defeating the Belfast Redbacks in an epic Grand Final contest held at the Swans home ground in Bushy Park. Rookie midfielder Mick 'Hips' Hurley earned 'Best on Ground' on the day with an energetic display. Final Score: Swans 13.7(85) – Redbacks 7.13(55). Goal scorers on the day: Manus Breathnach 4, Bryce Fraser 2, Ryan Serocki 2, Nick Pigdon 2, Conor Evans 1, Bobby Byrne 1, Kevin Brennan 1.

In 2011 the Swans defeated the Leeside Lions in the Grand Final held at Durrow, Co. Laois to capture back to back premierships. The final score was 6.9(45) to 5.7(37). Rookie ruckman Thomas Russell's physicality and determination around the ground earned him the 'Best on Ground' accolade. Swans goal scorers: Manus Breathnach 4, Michael Hurley 1, Nick Pigdon 1.

Two years later in 2013 the Swans defeated the Belfast Redbacks 10.16(76) - 8.8(56) at Islandbridge, Dublin to claim their fourth ARFLI Premiership. Veteran midfielder Ryan Serocki was awarded 'Best on Ground' assisting the Swans overturn a 4 goal half time deficit, in one of our most memorable premiership victories. Swans goal scorers: Richie Dignam 3, Grayson 'Guido' Stopp 3, Ryan Serocki 2, Bobby Byrne 1, Manus Breathnach 1.

In 2015 at Cherryvale Park, Belfast, the Swans captured their fifth Premiership. Result Belfast Redbacks 6.7(43) def by South Dublin Swans 6.9(45). This was the tightest of finishes after a ferocious battle and the Swans second win in three weeks in the Redbacks backyard. With an experienced side of Grand Final veterans sprinkled with several rookie younger players, the Swans enjoyed a potent mix of know-how and youthful vigour. Season rookies Liam Burns, Bryan O'Kane, Seamus Owens, Omar Mamad and Rob Monks had all shone in finals footy, but it was crafty half forward flank Kevin Brennan whose two important goals edged the Swans over the line in this low-scoring arm wrestle. Other scorers Manus Breathnach, Omar Mamad, Marty Ryan and Bryce Fraser.











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Hall of fame




Swans Team of the Decade (2006-2015)

 Full Back

James O'Byrne, Nationality Irish, Nickname Rambo, 8 seasons played, 4 premierships

Brent Morrison, Nationality Australian, Nickname Moose, 5 seasons played, 3 premierships

Andrew Mack, Nationality Australian, Nickname Farmer, 3 seasons played, 1 premiership

Half Back

David Scott, Nationality Australian, Nickname Scotty, 5 seasons played, 2 premierships

Conor Evans, Nationality Irish, 3 seasons played, 1 premiership

Adam Helner, Nationality Australian, Nickname Helzi, 1 season played, 1 premiership


Bobby Byrne, Nationality Irish, 6 seasons played, 4 premierships

Ryan Serocki, Nationality Australian, Nickname Rhino, 7 seasons played, 3 premierships, GF Best on Ground

Darren Shiels, Nationality Irish, 8 seasons played, 4 premierships

Half Forward

Grayson Stopp, Nationality Australian, Nickname Guido, 1 season played, 1 premiership, 1 B&F award

Thomas Russell, Nationality Irish, 5 seasons played, 3 premierships, 1 B&F award, GF Best on Ground

Ross Slater, Nationality Australian, 1 season played, 0 premierships

Full Forward

Bryce Fraser, Nationality Australian, 10 seasons played, 5 premierships

Manus Breathnach, Nationality Irish, 6 seasons played, 4 premierships, 10 GF goals

Stephen Fellowes, Nationality Australian, Nickname Wes, 1 season played, 1 premiership, GF Best on Ground


Paul O'Halloran, Nationality Irish, 6 seasons played, 4 premierships, 4 B&F awards

Craig Wood, Nationality Australian, Nickname Woodsy, 2 seasons played, 2 premierships

Michael Hurley, Nationality Irish, Nickname Hips, 6 seasons played, 4 premierships, 2 B&F awards, GF Best on Ground


Ash Larcombe, Nationality Australian, 1 season played, 0 premierships

Martin Ryan, Nationality Irish, Nickname Crazy, 10 seasons played, 5 premierships

Nick Pigdon, Nationality Australian, Nickname Chucky, 4 seasons played, 2 premierships

Kostas Aligizakis, Nationality Australian, Nickname Con, 1 season played, 1 premiership

Ben Fitzsimmons, Nationality Australian, Nickname Fitzy, 1 season played, 1 premiership

Shane Thomas, Nationality Australian, Nickname Shaggers, 2 seasons played, 1 premiership

Club Song

Out we come, out we come, out we come to play,
Just for recreation sake to pass the time away.
Lots of fun, heaps of fun, enjoy yourself today,
South Dublin's boys are hard to beat, when they come out to play.

So join in the chorus and sing it one and all,
Join in the chorus, South Dublin's on the ball.
Good old South Dublin, they're champions you'll agree,
South Dublin will be premiers, just you wait and see.

History of the club

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)

Understanding the game


Games involve two teams of 22 players with 18 from each team on the field at any one time. The game starts when a siren sounds and a field umpire bounces the ball in the centre of the ground. The ball is also bounced in the centre to start each quarter and after a goal has been scored. Typically in Ireland we play with 14-16 players on each team.


Games are divided into four quarters of 20 minutes, plus extra time, and teams swap ends after each quarter. Teams try to gain possession of the football and then run, kick and handball it towards their goals, which are at opposite ends of the ground. Players can run with the ball as long as they bounce the ball once every 15 metres.

Moving the footy

Players pass the ball to each other using a kick or handball. A handball involves holding the football in one hand and hitting it with the  clenched fist of the other hand. If a player can mark the football (catch it from a kick that has travelled at least 15 metres provided the ball has not touched the ground or been touched by another player), he is entitled to a set kick and the opposition is not allowed to tackle him until he plays on.


A player can win possession of the ball by tackling an opponent. A legal tackle is performed by grabbing an opponent, who has the ball, below the shoulders and above the knees. Players are not allowed to push an opponent in the back while making a tackle and tackled players must correctly dispose of the ball within a reasonable time (one to two seconds). A player who is tackled illegally will be awarded a free kick. In some instances when a mark or free kick has been awarded, an additional 50-metre penalty will be awarded against the opposing team if a player unduly delays the play or abuses an umpire.

The aim of the game is to kick goals. That means kicking the ball through the tall inner posts (the goalposts) to score six points. If the ball goes between a goalpost and either of the smaller outer posts (the behind posts), a behind (worth one point) is scored. When it comes to reading or writing the scores, the goals go first, then the behinds, then the total points. For example, a score of 10 goals and six behinds is a total of 66 and is written 10.6 (66).

The team that finishes with the highest total of goals and behinds is the winner
Reasons to love the Game


Key Skills


AFL Europe 2016 Champions League

The 2nd annual AFL Europe Champions League took place in Amsterdam on 19th March 2016, co-hosted with the Amsterdam Devils.

Sportspark de Eendraact accommodated 5 women’s and 13 men’s teams as they all battled it out to be named the Champion of Europe. With 38 9-a-side matches being played over 4 pitches the atmosphere was buzzing from 10am.

The Swans were drawn in the 4 team White Group with Sodermalm from Sweden, the Zagreb Dockers from Croatia and the Lazy Koalas from Russia.

Our game with the Lazy Koalas was the tournament opener with a 10am bounce, which wasn't very forgiving following some Friday night team bonding in various Amsterdam hostelries! However the lads shook off any sore heads to record a convincing 62-7 win against the Russians. There was no respite with an immediate second game against Croatian champs the Zagreb Dockers. This was a tighter affair and the hard hitting Croats led by their hugely impressive talisman Tomislav Cvetko made the Swans work hard for a 29-14 win.  The final group game turned into the pool decider for a place in the competition semi-finals. This was against the Swedish champions, Sodermalm. This was a very close encounter with nothing between the teams and goals being traded back and forward. The Swans had to work hard to contain the big Swedish forward Michael Larssen whose physicality and goal kicking was a real thorn for the Swans midfield and defence. The Swans however showed great determination to win this one by the slimmest of margins 28-26.

Having topped the group the Swans faced reigning Champions League holders, the West London Wildcats in the semi-final. A four hour break until finals probably didn't help any of the teams. At this stage the Swans had lost a couple of players through injury also. Although the Swans opened well, scoring the first goal, they could not match the impressive Wildcats who soon took control on the scoreboard and ran out comfortable winners 76-6, with a dominant performance. The Swans didn’t have long to think about that disappointing result as they then played the other beaten semi-finalists, the Hamburg Dockers in the third place playoff. This was a better performance from a tiring Swans team, but they fell short of another win, going down 38-23.

The West London Wildcats won the tournament for the second year in a row beating the Manchester Mosquitoes in the Grand Final with another dominant display 43-13. Swans small forward Kevin Brennan was the Swans best and fairest over the competition and selected on the team of the tournament. The tournament closed with an awards and presentations back in Amsterdam city centre, where we renewed rivalries with the Croatians in some shot drinking competitions!

Well done to all the Swans who travelled, there were great performances throughout the squad, though special mention goes to player coach Darren Shiels, captain for the day Liam Burns, midfielder Bryan O'Kane, ruckman Paul O'Halloran, forward Kevin Brennan and midfielder Craig Wood who unfortunately picked up a season-ending knee injury. Overall it was a great experience for the Swans and it was impressive to see the calibre of club teams from all over Europe.

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