Passion Clann cue up crown

Niall Scully

CLANN MHUIRE keep on climbing the stairs. The Tesco Homegrown Dublin Junior B Championship crown is now residing snugly in the North County.

It has been a commendable journey. The girls began at U12 level. And their adult adventure set off in Division 6.

They beat St Jude's in the final at Fingallians. "It means so much to a small club like us," commented Gerry Barrett, managing the team with Mossy McGrane and John Rooney.

"We are absolutely delighted and so proud of the girls. It was a brilliant achievement. We were just so determined to win it this time."

It was their third final. They endured final defeats to Lucan Sarsfields and Portobello. The desire was written on the boots.

The squad is very small. It's not easy to attract numbers to this rural heartland in Naul, far away from the city lights.

But the football candle never dims. The club have some fine players who wear the county jersey at different levels.

When they are away on county commitments, life goes on back home. The Mhuire girls give their all in training, even when the numbers are reduced.

"That's the type of dedication that won it for us. I'd often have a bag of balls and I'd look around and they'd be gone. Somebody had gone off to practise their shooting or whatever," reveals Gerry.

The final against Jude's was a smasher. "The scoreline flattered us," admits Gerry, who would have loved to have seen more bodies in the Naul choir.

"Unfortunately, our men's team were in championship action the same night in Garristown. It would have been nice to have the two games on together. Some people made it back from the men's game to catch the end of ours."

Jude's had lost last year's final, so there was mustard on their laces too. "Jude's came at us strongly at the start, but our backs and midfield worked very hard to withstand the pressure.

"In the second half we opened up. We have good forwards. We moved the ball in quickly to them and they took some wonderful scores.

"In fairness to Jude's, they battled well. There was some tremendous stuff played by both sides. But we felt such elation at the final whistle."

The celebrations lingered long into the night, but now the Mhuire maestros are preparing for their Division 3 semi-final.