Nothing beats old Cup magic for Crowe
HIS glittering career is nearing an end, but Glen Crowe is still hopeful of a last shot at the big time.
The former Ireland international striker retired from professional football at the end of the 2010 season, but the lure of the game enticed him into joining Malahide United towards the end of last season, and he hasn't looked back.
In his own words, he now pays "for the privilege of playing" the game that has given him so much. Tonight he takes part in a competition he has won twice as a Bohemians player and, after scoring 31 goals this season, the ace marksman is hoping to set up a clash against one of the big guns in the third round.
"The Cup is a great competition to play in. We beat College Corinthians in the last round in Malahide, but it would be nice to get a league team because now -- playing Blarney -- it is like playing in one of the cups we have played in already. We want to get into the next round and get a nice draw," he said.
He is enjoying playing in the Leinster Senior League, where his side won promotion to the Senior Division this season. The crowds might be lower, but playing for former League of Ireland players like Vinnie Perth and Alan Murphy means the standards remain high.
"It is different to playing in the league. You go down to play and there's only a handful of people there," he explained.
"But we're playing good football, scoring goals. It is not the same intensity as playing for a league team -- you train twice, maybe three times a week -- but between Vinnie and Alan, who both played in the league, they bring the high standard with them."
Crowe had options to stay within the League of Ireland, but the pace of life outside the league suits him and his current ambitions. He recently finished a course in fitness and personal training and is working on his coaching badges.
Since completing his qualification he has launched 'Glen Crowe Fitness' and is busy getting it up and running.
"I could have carried on for a year, but I was 33 and I felt I needed to have something else to look forward to," he said.
"I wish I'd done the course at the start of my career because the insight it gave me into how the body and muscles work would have been valuable 10 years ago. I'd have been better when I was playing, recovery and diet-wise.
"I only started the business a few weeks ago, it is keeping me busy. There was only one line of work I was interested in, staying in sports and fitness. I have done some coaching and I would like to go more into that.
"Not being paid for it, I don't have to make a decision on whether I'm going to play next season until the summer. The season ends on Friday and then we'll be off for a month. There's no rush on it."
That can wait. Tonight he is looking to book his place in the next round of the famous old competition where he is hoping to run into some old friends.
Few would bet against him scoring if he gets the chance. Blarney won't let him have his way easily though.
"It is a big incentive knowing that the last 16 is after this round. We have a great chance of getting a great draw," he said.
"But Blarney are non-league, same as us, and they are thinking the same. They have done their homework and are at home, looking to progress as much as we are."