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Mary's go down memory lane

UP in the St Mary's clubhouse, they were talking of times past. Dick Farrelly and Brian Jacob were the memory men.

So many Saggart stories. Next October, the club are launching a book St Mary's, A Hundred Years Or So.

Its pages will be packed. "We were looking back on some of the stuff the other night and it would bring a smile to your face," explained Mary's chairman, Brendan Murray.

"There are minutes of meetings going back to the 40s and even earlier than that. And there are items that stand out – like the prize for winning a tournament was half a calf ... "

The 1942 All-Ireland Football final will feature prominently. Mary's had five players on the winning Dublin team – Paddy Bermingham, Gerry Fitzgerald, Peter O'Reilly, Caleb Crone and Paddy O'Connor.

There were other All-Ireland winners from the club – John and Jim Timmons in '58 and goalkeeper, Paschal Flynn, in 1963.

The more modern era will also command space. In 2004, Mary's, managed by Dessie Brennan, won a treble – The Herald Floodlit Cup, the St Vincent de Paul and Division 1 of the League.

Brendan was a selector on that side. They defeated Lucan Sarsfields in the league final at a packed O'Toole Park.

"We had a very good side. We also reached the semi-final of the championship that season," he recalled. "Ballyboden beat us with two cracking goals from Conal Keaney."

PRIORITY

These days, Mary's still proudly have a Division 1 address. The priority is to hold onto it. They will play Templeogue Synge Street in the first round of the championship.

The club's AFL Division 7 team are showing promise. And the brightest news of all is the juvenile section, which is humming.

"The Academy is really doing well, and we'll keep pushing on and turning out players," said Brendan, who is delighted with the advent of girls football.

"We noticed a lot of girls coming to the Academy, so we put out the feelers in January about starting a team. We got such a response that we now have three teams!"

The vibes are also cheerful about a big fundraising dance extravaganza that Mary's are holding with their good friends, Commercials. It's called Strictly Together and will take place at the Citywest Hotel on Saturday, June 21st.

"We are hoping to get huge support from the people of Rathcoole and Saggart. Having the joint venture is a natural fit. We have players and mentors involved at juvenile level with both clubs. And some of the teams even train together."

Mary's intend to keep high-stepping it out on their beloved Saggart stage. They bought the ground for 12,500 (Irish) pounds in 1968 from Andy Holohan. Andy had been offered far more from other developers.

The club have done a lot of work on it since. The village church has blessed many a victory. And the bells will keep on ringing for Mary's as they continue to polish their boots ... and their dancing shoes.


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