J.K. Bracken's Gaelic Athletic Club is a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club centred on the parish of Templemore, Clonmore and Killea in County Tipperary, Ireland. It plays in the Tipperary GAA county and Mid-Tipperary divisional competitions. JK Brackens is one of only two or three clubs that consistently compete in the Tipperary club championships at senior grade in both the hurling and Gaelic Football. The club is also nationally renowned as one of the country's leading GAA Scór clubs, and in 2016 began the promotion of GAA Handball within the club. Currently, the club fields 17 teams from under 6 up to senior grades and has approximately 250 playing members.
The club is named after Joseph Kevin Bracken of Templemore, who was one of the seven founding members of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1884. Furthermore, Bracken was the first Chairman of the Tipperary County Board, he served as vice president of the GAA, and of the original seven signatories, he was the longest serving member on the GAA national executive. He was an elected representative and chairman of Templemore Urban District Council, and was a member of the oath-bound republican organisation the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood)
Pre-Formation Era - the 1980s
There was always a strong tradition of Gaelic games in the parish even pre-dating the GAA, however before 1992 the parish had a disjointed approach to representation in club GAA competitions, with the Éire Óg Club represented the area in football, Clonmore intermediate hurling and the Killea club for junior hurling.
Throughout the decade prior to the club's formation, combined parish teams were entered in various competitions. In 1980 Clonmore and Killea amalgamated as Clonmore / Killea and enter hurling teams competing at junior, intermediate and senior levels. This arrangement continued until the GAA centenary year of '84 when Clonmore and Killea agreed to enter Junior and Intermediate competitions as single clubs but competed as one club at senior level, and it was under the name of JK Brackens that this group played as. The following year JK Brackens competed at Minor and Under 21 hurling only, however in ’86 and ‘87 the Brackens represented the parish at senior grade once more. A senior JK Brackens selection did not feature in 1988 as Clonmore had won promotion to senior ranks by virtue of winning the County Intermediate Huring Championship of 1987. Instead ‘The Brackens’ were represented at minor and under 21 grades only, and it was at these grades that JK Brackens claimed their first silverware, winning Mid Minor B and Mid Under 21 B hurling titles in 1989 and 1990 respectively.
The period from ‘79 to ‘91 was up to that point the most successful period for hurling in the parish, with Killea winning Junior A Mid titles in ‘89 and ‘91, (their first silverware since 1928), Clonmore winning Intermediate Mid title in ’79, ’84, ’86 and Mid and County honours in 1987. Add to this Minor and Under 21 B titles in ‘89 and ‘91 for the JK Brackens selection, the case for a single GAA club for the parish grew strong impedes with the common consensus amongst players and local GAA officials was that to compete and grow the games of hurling and football that a ‘one parish, one club’ approach must be adopted, just like the majority of GAA clubs throughout Ireland. It was also believed that Gaelic football in the parish would receive a major boost with the inclusion of Templemore Éire Óg in a Clonmore Killea partnership and so it subsequently proved, with local Gaelic football benefiting from increased player participation, game preparation and on-field success.
Foundation to Present Day
In 1991, the three parish GAA clubs approached the county board to assist an amalgamation and the county chairman appointed Michael Frawley of Emly to oversee and assist the process. Following a lengthy exercise in which county board appointees visited the parish on over a dozen occasions, the three clubs democratically voted their clubs out of existence for a 5 year period, and backed the formation of a single club. One of the most influencing factors in this decision was the voice of the playing personnel, who voted by 56 to 3 in favour of an amalgamation.
In February 1992, at a special convention in Páirc Shíleáin, the attendance of close to 150 members of the three clubs, gave their overwhelming support to the new venture, and the JK Brackens GAA club was officially formed merging the former GAA clubs of Templemore Éire Óg, Clonmore GAA and Killea GAA, and thereafter was ratified by Mid and County Boards, and by Croke Park for a five-year period. In 1997 some members of the Killea GAA club decided to leave the partnership and reform into their old entity however many player from that catchment area decided to play under the Brackens flag and likewise, some players from Templemore and Clonmore have chosen to hurl Junior B with Killea GAA. The JK Brackens Juvenile GAA Club was also formed in 1992. Its formation was less complicated as its predecessor, the Templemore Éire Óg Juvenile Club had catered for the youth of all the parish including Killea and Clonmore.
The newly formed Club was an immediate success with the Intermediate footballer and hurlers both winning Mid championships in ‘92 and there was also several titles won at Minor, U16, U14 and U12 levels. The footballers repeated their achievement in ’93 and also added county honours, thus winning promotion to senior ranks where they have remained since. The Mid Intermediate Hurling championship was ultra-competitive at this time and included teams such as Drom-Inch GAA and Upperchurch-Drombane GAA. JK Brackens had to wait until ’96 and ’97 for further Intermediate titles to add to the trophy cabinet. ‘Brackens lost two successive county finals in both of these years however they won promotion to senior level by virtue of winning two divisional crowns in a row, and have subsequently competed at senior grade since.
1997 was also the year that the 'Brackens won their first county hurling title winning the Under 21 B championship in a side captained by Eamonn Corcoran. Further B hurling county titles were claimed in 2002 and 2004 at U21 and Minor levels respectively. The club had to wait until 2002 for their first title at senior level, winning the Mid Senior Football Championship, a historic achievement as they were the first parish side to claim the trophy in 38 years. They have subsequently won the title 5 time since the turn of the millennium thus breaking the dominance of Loughmore-Castleiney GAA. Brackens won their title in senior hurling silverware winning the Cahill Cup in ’07 and ’08, and they won their first county titles at senior level in 2005 and 2006, winning the Tipperary Division 1 Football League, the former year a first senior county title for the parish in 69 years.
In 2016 the club took a major step forward in the promotion of Gaelic games within the parish when it was agreed that the club would join Killea GAA at minor and under 21 levels under the name JK Brackens Óg. In effect, this arrangement extended the agreed structures of the juvenile club up to 21 years of age, and therefore the teams had the full pick of the parish while players were free able to represent their own half at the parish at adult hurling. This agreement also allowed players from Killea to play football with JK Brackens at Junior and Senior grades, as their club had no affiliated Gaelic football teams. The foresight of both clubs proved an instant success when the Brackens Óg lineup claimed the parishes first Minor A hurling title  in a squad that boosted 3 members of the All-Ireland winning minor team of that year, the highest contingent of any other club in the county. This momentous occasion was followed up 2 day later when this same group capture the A football crown, thus completing a historic double.
Other historic milestones reached at juvenile level was the Under 12 County hurling title in 2003, the club's first A championship county title, and the same group of players won the A football crown at Under 14 in 2005.