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Rivals merge in an orderly Cú!

TEAMS will tell you that all down the years, the welcome in the North County is the warmest of all. A firm handshake, a cup of tea and two sugars. The visitors may even leave with a plate of sandwiches ... but rarely with the two points.

Today it's the same as ever. Parish pride means what it says on the tin. Old matches, old scores ... older sores ... memories that last a lifetime.

Man O' War and Round Tower of Lusk have long been part of the furniture. Tower's played their first match on St Stephen's Day in 1906.

Man O' War set sail in 1946. Their Dublin Junior Football Championship victory of 1979 brought tears to the village.

Football is still king in these parts, and when the harvest was not as plentiful as they would have liked, the two clubs hatched a master plan.

They joined forces. And Cú Chulainn was born. Under the Cú Chulainn umbrella, Tower's and Man O' War field three teams.

And the partnership is working a treat. "It's been going for about 10 years now," explains Stephen White. "A terrific bond has developed between the two clubs, and indeed the young players. As Cú Chulainn, we have minors, under-16s and under-15s. Had we not amalgamated, the reality is that these lads would not be getting football.

Benefit

"If we were operating separately at this level, we mightn't be able to field in these grades, so that is the real benefit of the clubs coming together.

"And I must say, it couldn't have gone any better. The lads from both clubs are very committed and they are enjoying their football.

"Things are well organised. There's a solid structure in place with training and so forth. The fellas are getting competitive games.

"We have excellent facilities, including the all-weather which means we can train all during the winter, so it has worked out great." Success has also arrived, and some of the lads have got the Dublin call. "We have players on the Dublin under-16 and under-15 development squads, so that is a big boost for the players themselves and it will also inspire their team-mates as well."

Those who got the phone-call include Liam Bohan, Cormac Howley, Aaron Duffy and Rory Harford. And the phone could be ringing again.

"We certainly could have future Dubs down the line. The lads are putting in the effort and we are fortunate with the quality of mentors we have looking after them.

"There's a great tradition of football in the North County. We are passionate about our football out here," says Stephen.

He adds that, for clubs travelling to the lush green fields of this spectacular haven, the kettle is always on the boil. But once the ball is thrown in, diplomatic relations cease for an hour or so!


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