In October 2000 the Leeside Lions AFL Club was formed. The club worked hard to recruit players and trained throughout the winter months, playing their first match on 31 March 2001 against the Dublin Demons as part of the ARFLI Super 9s championship. The game was played at Murphys Farm in Curraheen with the Lions coasting to an easy win against a weakened Demons squad. The Lions topped the table in the Super 9s but faltered when they met the Midland Tigers (another new team, based in Mullingar) in the Grand Final in Drogheda.
Following the Super 9s competition a 14-a-side Premiership was held, with the Lions again topping the table, this time meeting the Demons in the Final, which was held in Kilkenny. The Demons had a score to settle and beat the Lions convincingly to retain the Premiership flag.