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Flying Fox Cabs look forward to Derry dream

EARLY Sunday morning in Kilbogget Park. The sun isn't shining. Welcome to chilly Cabinteely.

Over in one corner, there's a group of young Fox Cabs hard at work. The bell for first mass has not sounded, and most haven't even poured the milk on the cornflakes, but such things don't matter here.

Foxrock Cabinteely are the county champions, and this is the reason why. The memory of that magnificent victory over Na Fianna in the final last year is still being talked about in the South County.

But not by the players. They have now other mountains to climb. And they get their inspiration from a footballer like Marla Candon. For years, Marla has been the heartbeat of the club as they rose through the ranks to become the county queens. Her presence has encouraged and helped so many young players prosper. She always displays the drive of the champion.

Now Foxrock Cabinteely are celebrating another Dublin Division 1 Féile success. In a very short time, they have come a long way.

Féile mentor, Donnough Shaffrey, salutes all the effort that goes on behind the glare of the spotlights.

"We are a relatively young club, but we have the right structures. And the right people. All the mentors and the parents put in such an incredible effort. And it's the work that goes on at under-age level is the key.

"We are lucky to have good leaders on the committee. It's just a wonderful club to be in, and it's the attitude of everybody involved that creates such a thriving atmosphere. Being the Dublin senior champions is some achievement, especially considering that the club is not all that old. But it all goes down to the dedication of everybody involved – players, mentors, officials, parents and supporters."

Heading off to the Féile finals will also help make the summer. "We are thrilled to be representing Dublin. We are all looking forward to going to Derry. We'll prepare well and we'll also enjoy it. Enjoying the Féile is the most important thing. The girls had a wonderful experience last year in Offaly."

Last time, the Dubliners played the eventual champions, Naomh Ciaran of Offaly, in their opening game. Things were looking good.

"We were five points up with five minutes to go and we had a big breeze at our backs, but they came back and pipped us. And that was it really. They went on to win the competition comfortably.

"But, at the end of the day, it's all about taking part. That's what Féile stands for. It's the friendships and the memories that you make."

Donnough says that Dublin football is in prime health. He was impressed with the standard in Féile. "We were involved in a couple of very tight matches. We beat Kilmacud in the semi-final by a couple of points after extra-time. There was nothing in the final either against Ballinteer, who, like Crokes, are a fine side."

But in the end, it was the graft of the Fox Cabs that carried them home. Now they are busy rehearsing the Derry Air.