| 5.8°C Dublin

It's carnival time

CANCEL the subscription to Sky Sports. The carnival that is the Dublin Senior Football Championship throws-in tomorrow night. No fewer than 16 matches over three days.

That's a lot of Deep Heat. And it's a long road from May to the bright lights of Donnycarney next autumn. There's always an extra tingle in the climate on the dawning of another championship year.

And this time the drama of the knock-out returns. In other years, the Dublin Senior Football Championship had more back doors than a Playboy Mansion. Now the first-round losers go into the 'B' Championship.

The Dublin Championship holds a high place in the country. Most say it's the best of them all. John Nagle is from Kerry. He agrees. "No doubt about it," says John, the St Anne's manager.



He feels the Dublin system works a treat. "In Kerry you have the regional teams, but in Dublin its club v club. That's the real essence of any championship."

The recent exploits of St Vincent's, Kilmacud Crokes and Ballymun Kickhams enhances the capital's gold-standard.

"Ballymun's run to the All-Ireland final was a big boost to Dublin," acknowledges John. "They were unfortunate in the end."

Despite Ballymun's heroics, John states that they are not the big fancy to retain the Clery Cup.

"I don't think you can say that Ballymun are the hot favourites to win Dublin again. There are too many good teams around to make that prediction."

St Jude's are St Anne's first appointment. Jude's have been one of the most consistent sides in the county over several years now. They have had many changes in personnel, but they are never far from the boardroom.



"It will be a tough one for us. Jude's are a fine side. But we'll give it a go," says John, who runs the Saints with Gerry Sutton and Frank McGrath.

Jude's reached their first final in 2009, losing to 'Boden. They made the semi-final last season, where they lost to Ballymun Kickhams.

But it was the other semi-final that had everybody talking. Crokes trailed Brigid's by eight points at half-time but came back to win by six.

And they almost produced another one in the final, inspired by Pat Burke's stunning points. The 'Mun had a point to spare in the end. Champions for the first time in more than a quarter-of-a-century. It was the tempo of their football, and their all-round discipline, that impressed most of all. Pulling down the shutters at the back and then breaking for the border with precise, intelligent football, laced with electric pace.

They'll begin the adventure all over again against Clondalkin's Round Tower. Gentleman Jim Gavin could be in the audience.