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BlueBeat: St Mark’s go extra yard for locality

Cookstown Road venue is a thriving heartbeat of the community

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St Mark's David Kearns and Man O War's William Moore in action at the Dublin JFC1 Club semi-final between St Mark’s v Man O’War in McGee Park in Dublin last November. Credit: Arthur Carron

St Mark's David Kearns and Man O War's William Moore in action at the Dublin JFC1 Club semi-final between St Mark’s v Man O’War in McGee Park in Dublin last November. Credit: Arthur Carron

St Mark's David Kearns and Man O War's William Moore in action at the Dublin JFC1 Club semi-final between St Mark’s v Man O’War in McGee Park in Dublin last November. Credit: Arthur Carron

McGee Park. Called after Michael, who graced the St Mark’s jersey. The wide expanse of rolling turf smiling beneath the Dublin Mountains.

The club organised a Community Clean-up of the venue. One of their many admirable initiatives, which include promoting good mental health. And encouraging random acts of kindness.

The club is a heartbeat of Tallaght. A home from home on the Cookstown Road. 

“We were formed in ’75, and some of our founder members are still involved today,” explains Michael Collins.

“There’s new families moving into the area now. And they are getting involved in the club. The juvenile structure is good. And it’s all about building on that.”

Last season, St Mark’s won the Go-Ahead Dublin Junior 1 Football Championship, defeating Man O War in a thrilling semi-final before overcoming another of the noble names of Dublin GAA, Geraldine Moran’s, in the final.

“That was a great achievement. There’s good positivity from that victory,” adds Michael.

Mark’s top football team are in the AFL Division 4. “It’s a high standard. We are performing well. We have lost some close ones. But there’s great heart in the squad. 

“Many of them play hurling as well. We’d have 90 per cent dual players. It’s all about trying to improve, week-in, week out.

“And, as a club, we try to help the community as much as possible.”

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The Féile brings such happy days

Happy days are here again. The Féile back in town. The John West production. A stunning success.

Over 2,000 footballers were involved last weekend in 10 venues throughout Dublin and Kildare. Teams coming from all across Ireland, the UK, Europe and America.

It was the same for the hurling and camogie. In Westmanstown, Jerome Twomey would have been proud. The venue is named in his memory.

Garda Westmanstown Gaels are making big strides. They hosted the National Regional Camogie finals. “We had teams from Tyrone, Mayo, Meath, Cavan, Wicklow, Roscommon, Donegal and Dublin,” explains PRO, Keith Robertson.

“Superb work went on by our members on the grounds.” The home Gaels went to the semi-final. “Such great ambassadors for our club,” added Robertson, who captures the true spirit of Féile when he remarks: “We were all delighted that our guests enjoyed the day.”

Tom had time for everyone

An Cailín Ciúin. A fine film. Set in rural Ireland. It has won awards.

In one of the early scenes, the husband is watching the Sunday Game. Jim Carney is the presenter.

In 1978, Jim had a bad road accident. Tom O’Riordan was working at that year’s All-Ireland Football final. The day Mikey Sheehy floated one down the Dublin chimney pot.

After the match, Tom went into the Kerry dressing-room and got everyone to sign a Get Well Card for Jim. Jim still has the card.

As Vincent Hogan related on a lovely Newstalk tribute with Cliona Foley, All-Ireland final day is a busy and stressful one for the reporters. Writing stories, getting quotes. But Tom still made the time. And making time was his forte. For people, and on the track. An Olympian and Irish champion.

He achieved so much, but he never talked about it. He brought the same energy to his sports-writing.

He interviewed hundreds of sports people. Many of whom didn’t even know that the man standing there in front of them with the notebook and pen was the biggest star of all.

Ray helped to inspire all

Back in 1989, Round Towers (C) won the Dublin Intermediate Hurling Championship.

Ray McKenna was at the centre of that memorable triumph. The finest of hurlers, and the finest of men. He was considered a legend at Towers. And also at Ballyboden St Enda’s where he inspired so many young people to embrace the sport he loved.

His hurling wisdom made him a champion coach and mentor. And he cheered up every sideline that he ever stood on. A minutes’ silence was held before the Ballyboden v Faughs AHL Division 1 game at Páirc Uí Mhurchú to mark his passing, and honour his outstanding contribution.


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