Sunday 21 January 2018

Off The Ball: Community spirit the bedrock of Vins' glory

Marino men prove urban GAA clubs have as much to offer as small-town rural sides

Ger Gilroy

It has been a strange sensation these last few days, taking the 123 Dublin Bus into work. The journey snakes through the mazes of Marino around perfectly symmetrical greens, built largely by Germans between the wars, down Philipsburgh Avenue and Fairview Strand and eventually slithers on to the main road into town through Ballybough. Croke Park is omnipotent.

Everywhere along the route flags still flicker and bunting still flies and it's all blue and white. St Patrick's Day frippery barely got a look-in until you hit the Ballybough Road.

It's a strange sensation because my usual experience of supporting teams is that they get beaten. I've grown up supporting the Antrim hurlers, the Kildare footballers, the Leinster rugby team who in fairness bucked the trend eventually but pre-2009 were afflicted by a generational case, Aston Villa as man and boy and Ireland in all its misbegotten, badly-refereed, hyped-up, overconfident, civil-war-having, underachieving guises.

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