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Kingpin John's journey at end

ALL change at Stillorgan. John Sheridan has stepped away from the bridge. He has been Ladies Football chairman since 1996.

"It's a long time. I wanted to go last year, but they wouldn't let me," reflects John, who welcomes Peter Sobolewski into the role.

Back in 1995, Kilmacud Crokes had no ladies team. "I put it to the AGM. Danny Ryan seconded it. That's how we started," recalls John.

The first training session was memorable. "We had it in the old paddock. It had lashed rain for three days. The place was like a mud bath. People said you couldn't ask girls to train there.

"But I said if they come today, they'll be here next week. We got a huge turn-out. We were up and running. But we were getting hammered in every match for a good while.



Humble

"I remember our first game -- we lost by 2-12 to 0-0 to Lucan at Oatlands College. But we nearly managed a couple of points! Humble beginnings.

"It's funny that years later we beat Lucan in the Intermediate Championship final and in the league to do the double."

Today, Crokes have 112 children in their Nursery, training in the refurbished paddock. And they have teams at every level.

"I think women's sport is great," muses John. "We have some fabulous workers here -- people like Yvonne Burke, Aislinn Harkin and so many more."

All the Crokes crew earn their supper on the day of the Sevens. This season was the eighth year of the All-Ireland U14 Sevens.

"We'd have 32 teams from all over Ireland. I remember one manager said to me 'we lost every match, but we had a ball'. I love to hear that. That's the essence of sport."

John was also the man that led the Crokes men into senior football for the first time. They won the Inter Championship in 1977.

Pairc de Burca is part of his fabric. His favourite music will always be KC and the Sunshine Band.


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