Monday blog – by Niall McCoy
IN his Gaelic Life column last week, Brian McGuigan spoke of how there is no better feeling than standing with your clubmates after a victory in knockout football. Unfortunately, the other side of the coin is a galling experience – and I know it all to well having witnessed my beloved Dromintee fall at the first hurdle following their replay loss to Cullyhanna last night.
It got me thinking about the sporting Gods and why they have conspired against me. I’m a Dromintee man from Armagh who supports Liverpool, glory days have been few and far between in my 26 years on this planet.
I’ve watched Liverpool win the Champions League and Armagh win an All-Ireland, but I have never seen Dromintee raise the Gerry Fegan Cup. Nobody in my club’s long history ever has.
It’s a gutting feeling and one that just reinforces my belief that when it comes to club v county, there is absolutely no contest.
My own football career was tragically cut short by a lack of talent, and I have since taken up the role of shouting nonsense from behind the wire. I can keep calm watching Liverpool, I can keep calm watching Armagh, but when it comes to the club, you have to defend it anyway you can.
It’s a story we can all probably relate too. The work our senior team has put in the last decade has been nothing short of phenomenal. When they’re not training, they’re in the gym. That’s the way it has been for a long time now, but for little in return.
They’re no different to other clubs, of course, where the dedication and commitment shown makes a mockery of the amateur status of our association. Our club players really are a credit to the GAA.
It’s that time of year now where the club muscles in on the media coverage, parish rivalries take over rather than the chance of inter-county success. It’s a beautiful time of the year.
For my own club it’s another year of heartbreak, another year of ‘what ifs?’
As a supporter it’s another year of coming home and selfishly asking ‘why bother?’
There is a very simple answer though. Just remember the efforts the average club player puts in for scant reward. The sacrifices they make to take their parish to glory that more often that not fall short.
As fans we have it easy, all we do is yell at the ref and shake our heads when things don’t go to plan on the pitch.
The players will be back next year without question, and so will I to cheer them on.
In truth, you wouldn’t want it any other way – the club championship is a gem in our wonderful sport.