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Sunday 18 February 2018

Captain Cillian isolated in a sea of blue as Drimnagh Castle prepares for battle

Drimnagh Castle pupils Jamie Nolan (11), Alex Byrne (8) and Nathan Mills (12) in Dublin colours ahead of Sunday’s final
Drimnagh Castle pupils Jamie Nolan (11), Alex Byrne (8) and Nathan Mills (12) in Dublin colours ahead of Sunday’s final
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Mayo captain Cillian O'Connor will be well used to the din of Croke Park judging by the raucous cheers in his workplace yesterday.

"Come on you boys in blue" chanted the pupils at Drimnagh Castle Primary School in south Dublin.

The auditorium of Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne's alma mater was awash in a sea of blue.

The excited schoolboys waved flags, sang songs and generally pumped up the volume in order to spur on the Dubs ahead of their All-Ireland football final showdown with Mayo tomorrow.

Atmosphere

Principal Eugene Duffy, who is himself a proud Mayo supporter from Louisburgh, was enjoying the atmosphere.

He explained that the boys were given a time-out from class to rally the troops ahead of the crunch match at Croke Park.

"We've got a very good spirit going on here at the moment," he said of the good-natured rivalry between the majority of Dubs supporters at the school and the smattering of Mayo supporters.

Of course there is also the small matter of Mayo captain O'Connor, who teaches at the school.

"That gives it that bit of extra spice," he said.

Among the supporters was a trio of former pupils and athletes, who are now all pushing 70.

But their smiling boyhood faces still beam from black and white photographs taken when they won the Clanna Gael Cup back in 1959.

Desmond Benton (69) from Drimnagh sported an ancient baby blue Dublin flat-cap while cheering on the lads with his old school pal Tom Bishop (69).

Enthusiasm

Former school team captain James (Jim) Brown said he was delighted with the boys' enthusiasm and the sense of excitement at the school ahead of the match.

Asked about Dublin's chances on Sunday, he responded in the words of his soul-singer namesake: "I feel good."

Irish Independent

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