Dubs take a break in Kerry but it's no holiday
BACK at the height of their fabled rivalry in the 1970s, the banner on Hill 16 carried the message: "Kerry for the holidays -- the Dubs for Sam Maguire." Now the reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin have decamped to Kerry for a break.
But this is no holiday camp. The Dublin senior football squad is in the old enemies' heartland for training in west Kerry as they seek to make it two in a row following last year's defeat of the Kingdom.
Members of the team and their entourage are staying at the Skelligs Hotel and at Southbound holiday village in Dingle and yesterday took part in a training session at the local GAA grounds, Pairc an Athasaigh.
The panel, along with manager Pat Gilroy and mentors, arrived on Saturday and will leave this evening having put in two training sessions each day.
Gilroy was not in talkative form, however, when the Irish Independent caught up with him outside the GAA grounds yesterday.
"This is a private training session," he said. "We do media conferences."
And just in case there was any doubt, the team's bus driver waited at the gates during the session to make sure nobody could get too close.
Yesterday afternoon's session included captain Bryan Cullen, goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton, Cian O'Sullivan, Paul Casey, Paul Flynn, Ross McConnell, Denis Bastick and the Brogan brothers, Alan, Bernard and Paul.
The team also took to the beach in front of the Skelligs Hotel, which included a dip in the sea and a lot of seaweed throwing.
The session the previous night was less guarded and around 300 locals and holidaymakers watched the All-Ireland champions being put through their paces.
The rain of the night before was replaced yesterday with glorious sunshine. At one stage they even had to send for ice because they were "falling down" from the heat.
Dingle GAA chairman Micheal O'Connor said it was an honour for the grounds to be chosen by the Dublin team for training.
But it wasn't all hard work. They also got to relax in Paidi O Se's pub in Ventry on Sunday night.