Friday 9 December 2016

Where are they now?

Published 17/10/2010 | 05:00

DINNY LONG

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(Former Cork footballer)

Cork footballers won the Sam Maguire in 1973 and, three years later, Tralee's Austin Stacks won the All-Ireland club championship. Dinny Long played on both of those teams and recalls that time with great pride.

"I was playing for Cork for years but moved clubs from Millstreet to Austin Stacks in the middle of my playing days. I was privileged to be part of those two teams, winning that senior All-Ireland was special but so was winning the club. It was a great time in my life."

But Long was no stranger to success. Prior to winning a senior title, he had accumulated All-Ireland minor and U21 winner's medals. Playing in Croke Park was a childhood dream for Long and one that he was determined to make a reality.

"When I was young I decided that if I was going to ever go to Croke Park, I was going to go as a player. Getting off the bus the day of the All-Ireland minor final was my greatest memory because it was something I'd wanted for so long."

Football is one of Long's passions and has featured throughout his life. He watched the game evolve over the years. He believes it's a different game now but in many ways he feels that it's not necessarily a bad thing.

"The fitness levels nowadays are much higher than they used to be. When we played, we were fit but it's at another level now. And it's really a 15-man game, the ball moves around the field a whole lot more. The corner-backs and the corner-forwards can really enjoy the game. Back in my day, the corner-back might have only got a few touches in the whole game but now they are much more involved."

In 2007, after running an electrical business for 30 years, the former footballer retired. He spends his time now, enjoying life and playing golf. Today he will be in Tralee to watch his son Darragh line out for Austin Stacks against Dr Crokes of Killarney in the Kerry county final.

"It will be a momentous occasion for the club if we can win. And I'd love to see my son Darragh follow in my footsteps and win a county final," he says.

"It will be a close game but a good one to watch. Two of the modern greats, Colm 'Gooch' Cooper and Kieran Donaghy, will come up against each other but I hope that Donaghy will do enough to give us the edge."

Sunday Independent

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