Friday 17 November 2017

where are they now?

RAY COSGROVE

(Former Dublin footballer)

Many of Ray Cosgrove's summers were spent in Mayo as both his parents hailed from the Connacht county. And although the former Dublin footballer had an early introduction to the game, he didn't play it much until he was a teenager.

His formative years were spent playing soccer for Leicester Celtic and Cherry Orchard but when he went to St Benildus secondary school that all changed.

He started playing on the school team, won a Dublin Colleges title and then joined Kilmacud Crokes. He was a natural and soccer soon took a back seat.

Cosgrove was then selected for Dublin underage teams before getting the call from Mickey Whelan in 1996 to join the senior panel.

"As a young fella I used to go to the Hill to watch Dublin compete in All-Ireland finals," he explains.

"I was looking up to players like Paul Curran, John O'Leary and Charlie Redmond. And then after a short period of time I was walking into the same changing room as them and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't awestruck."

For the next 12 years Cosgrove was in and out of the Dublin team, winning four Leinster titles; however, the coveted Celtic Cross medal eluded him. In 2002, his side came especially close in the All-Ireland semi-final against Armagh. Cosgrove had a chance to level the game deep in injury time but his shot hit the post.

Although he finished with the county in 2008, he kept playing with his club and his career highlight came when Kilmacud Crokes won the All-Ireland club title in 2009.

He works with Friends First and is a selector with his club's senior team. Four of the Kilmacud players are in the Dublin squad for today's All-Ireland final and Cosgrove thinks that it will be their day.

"I think it will be very close. I was involved in 2006 when they beat us and then last year we were beaten by a goal so I think it's time for the Dubs to repay the favour and win it.

"Dublin have more matchwinners, there are doubts over Mayo's Cillian O'Connor; if he isn't right, he will be a major blow to their plans.

"But I think Dublin have the experience and the scoring forwards and that will see them through on the day."

Sunday Independent

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