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The First Finals

In the early years of the GAA All-Ireland Finals were played at a variety of venues around the country. The first finals played at what is now Croke Park took place in March 1896 with Tipperary successful in both codes, beating Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Hurling Final and Meath in the All-Ireland Football Final.

By 1906 the City and Suburban Racecourse and Amusements Grounds Ltd. was in financial difficulty and was put up for auction. In the auctioneer’s advertisement the property was described as then consisting of ‘14 acres and 17 and a half perches’. Frank Brazil Dineen decided to bid for the grounds and by a deed dated 17th December 1908 he paid £3,250 for the grounds.

Dineen intended this purchase to be a short-term matter and that in time the Association would eventually purchase the grounds from him. Once purchased Dineen made substantial improvements to the grounds, the pitch was re-laid and terracing was erected. These improvements placed a massive financial strain on Dineen and by 1910 he was forced to sell off four acres to the Jesuits of Belvedere College for £1,090. This portion remained in Jesuit hands until 1991 when it was repurchased by the GAA as part of the modern redevelopment of Croke Park.