Sometimes it really is as simple as it looks. For example, in the arena nearest and dearest to yours truly, we in Dunboyne are currently in the blessed position of being able to call the two best lady footballers in the country – Vikki Wall and Emma Duggan – our own. The fact that around them are an exceptionally gifted group of players makes this an exceptional period for the club and by extension the locality.
Those of us that have been around long enough – including some of the players – have seen both sides of the coin. From there not being a team in the area, to one being set up but later disbanded, to the glorious journey we are currently on. Appreciate it, there’s no guarantee there will be another one.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see our senior lads win the Keegan Cup three times, for now. In contrast, da lived to 91 and never saw the club win a senior hurling title. Bad days will always outnumber the good in sport. That’s an indisputable reality. Right, it’s time to make an admission that has festered with me on and off for years. Around this time every year, I get struck by a dose of the ‘What If’s? What if I was able to buy into a racehorse, or, when really buried under the winter blues, what if life led me to a different club and/or a different county?
No, I haven’t lost my marbles. Nor, underneath it all would I want to leave Dunboyne. Are there things about it I’d like to change? You can bet a good steak dinner there are. In a sporting sense though, pondering whether the grass may in fact be greener on the other side was solely down to the corrosive influence of the monster of the same shade. Yes, jealousy.
Not in a bitter or begrudging way though. In fact, envy would probably be a better description for what’s really felt deep inside. Looking on GAA institutions like St Vincent’s and Kilmacud Crokes in Dublin, Nemo Rangers down in Cork, Crossmaglen up in Armagh or Corofin over in the west – mopping up county titles and in some cases more with what feels like regularity.
Yes, the irony of mentioning the above statement is wholly digested in view of the piece which appeared here exactly one week ago. However, given the size of our club and the demographic of the area, it has, for a couple of decades now, been my contention that we should be at least striving to compete on such stages. When one of our adopted Kildare men in the club, Larry Kelly, co-ordinated a massive fundraiser for the club in Croke Park in 2004, his stated aim was that we would be competing on All Ireland Club Finals day within ten years.
Alas, for the men of the club it has never come to pass, though the girls did, of course, bring home All Ireland glory in 2015 and 2017. With this corner at least, it does rankle that neither game was played in GAA HQ while most recently, even in the midst of the girls extraordinary escapades, I couldn’t help thinking of what might have been. Firstly out of still replaying the Keegan Cup decider over and over in my head. Something compounded by seeing Kilmacud again emerge from the capital, with Dunboyne’s Robbie Brennan still at the helm.
With the exception of Ballymun Kickhams, and over at St Jude’s in particular, the rest of Dublin must be trying to figure out how on earth they are going to beat the Stillorgan outfit and when it might be likely to happen. Mind you, in another sporting sphere, the chasing pack are most likely consumed by similar concerns as to how they are going to dislodge the individual who currently leads the pack. Difference being that in the case of the darts, more than his direct competitors would love to usurp he who currently leads the way.
Be that as it may, the fact is that Gerwyn Price remains at least one converted try ahead of his fellow competitors! In some cases, sometimes the rankings in a given sport can take a degree of figuring out. However, on the darts scene at the minute, there’s no doubt Price is meritoriously atop the pile at present. Nor can it be disputed that Peter Wright is the adversary in closest pursuit just now.
Judging by the former rugby player’s dominant dismantling of his opponent in the Grand Slam final most recently played. In mitigation for the colourful Scot, he had come through a compelling penultimate clash with Michael Smith whereas the petulant Price had a much easier passage past the equally narky James Wade.
In the showdown for the Eric Bristow Trophy, it was very much a case of darting deja vu. In that Price, just as he did when last the met in the final, got off to a blistering start, opening up a lead of 7-3 for himself. When that margin expanded out to 11-4 it was fairly obvious there was only going to be one outcome.
However, it also must be acknowledged that for whatever reason, the man of many hairstyles didn’t play anything near as well as he is capable of. But at the same time, he summoned enough craft and determination to give the score a more respectable look and at the same time demonstrate that he will be a force to be reckoned with in the weeks and months ahead.
Roll on the Player’s Championship Finals and the biggest of them all at the Alexandra Palace. Call me unoriginal, but at this stage my guess would be that Sid Waddel will end up sitting alongside The Crafty Cockney.