Ballyoulster United FC is an amateur football club based in Celbridge, Co.Kildare. At the time of its foundation in 1968 the club served what was a small town with a population of about one thousand people. Over the last 51 years Celbridge has grown into a bustling suburban town of close to twenty thousand people and the club has progressed immensely over this time to cater for this population increase. The name of the club comes from the humble beginnings in which it was founded. Ballyoulster is a small housing estate in Celbridge where the houses form a circle around what is essentially a green space you would see in any housing estate. However some residents erected goalposts as well as marking out a full size pitch and decided to enter a team into a local league. Ballyoulster United Football Club had begun.
It wasn’t until 1990 that the club began to expand in relation to the growing numbers of people living in Celbridge. People from the community began to join and two senior teams were now fully in operation and the club’s first underage team was established, all of them playing their games on a green in the Ballyoulster housing estate. In order to facilitate the ever-expanding population, especially the large youth population, the club decided they would need larger facilities. In 1995 seventeen acres of land near Ballyoulster were purchased and the development of two full sized pitches began. Temporary changing facilities were also installed. Within a few months of the pitches being laid the club now had two senior teams, a ladies team and nine schoolboy teams.
Within the next few years the club’s membership expanded to several hundred and with the population of Celbridge still increasing rapidly it was agreed that proper changing facilities were needed. In 1999 construction began on a state of the art clubhouse, which was completed a year later. The clubhouse is unique when compared to many other clubhouses in that one half of the bottom floor is underground with steps leading up onto the main pitch. The clubhouse contains two large changing rooms and four smaller ones with shower facilities available. It also includes a café with shop and a function room where meetings and parties can be held. Along with the clubhouse the other facilities around the club have also been developed. Today the club has a FIFA approved full sized all weather pitch, four full sized grass pitches and one small-sided pitch. These facilities have given the club a base to continue developing into a very successful football club.
Apart from the expansion of the facilities, Ballyoulster United have also seen the club membership soar and the amount of teams at the club grow massively. Currently the club have a senior men’s team that compete in the Leinster Senior League and an Over 35s team. In terms of schoolboy football, the club also have 25 schoolboy teams ranging from ages eight to eighteen. These teams compete in the Dublin District and Schoolboy League. The club also run an academy for boys and girls aged 5-7 where the focus is on getting children involved with football and grasping the basics of the game in a fun environment. This academy takes place every Wednesday from 5-6pm and Saturday morning from 10-11am, costing only €3 per session. Over the years the club has achieved great success among their schoolboy teams with leagues and cups not an uncommon sight.
Ballyoulster United has always promoted a sense of belonging and pride in the club and locality. The importance of friendship and community has always been an essential element of the club with new members both playing and non-playing always welcome. There is an emphasis on the importance of encouraging fair play and developing social skills through team participation. The club judges itself on its ability to provide an environment where people of all ages can develop as players and as people and to enjoy their football. This can be further seen in the club’s aim to get our young players involved with the club in other capacities. Several young players aged 16+ have started helping out with coaching some of the younger 7-a-side teams and the academy. The club encourages its young players to build their skills and their love for the game and to build character through taking on these types of responsibility.