|Pat Gilroy Celebrates after the Final Whistle.|
|Players of the Year 2010 and 2011|
Bernard and Alan Brogan will be traveling to the U.S.
The group will then move on the Boston where the recently formed Friends of Dublin GAA will host an evening at Porter Belly’s Pub in Brighton followed by a tour of the city the following day. It will be a great chance not only to enjoy celebrating with the exiled Dubs in the Boston area, but there are also friends and family to catch up with for Pat and some of the contingent. In fact, Pat is no stranger to Boston and has numerous connections in the city. Former teammates, Kevin Fagan, and Stephen Magill, have resided in the area for several years and Pat and has often met the lads on visits to the city. Pat mentioned another lifelong friend, Dessie McCain, who lives in Worcester, Mass. Their fathers were best friends growing up and the family friendship has continued to this day. Some of the players also have connections in the area, be it old club mates or relatives, so the trip represents a great opportunity to re-connect over the weekend.
It has now been more than 5 weeks since that great day in Croke Park and I asked Pat what was going through his mind as the Sam Maguire was being presented to Bryan Cullen. “Great satisfaction after all the work that went in” said Pat. “Over the years a lot of teams put in the same amount of work as us and didn’t win it. It was a fairytale the way we got it. We got a bit of luck this year, and there were plenty of years where we didn’t get that bit of luck.” With 6 minutes to go and down by 4 points, and many people thinking that Kerry had the game in the bag, Pat stated that he was optimistic that his team could pull it off. “I thought if it was close with 10 minutes to go that we would go on to win it. We had the fresher legs and created 2 goal chances in the final 10 minutes” recounted Pat. “Kerry are so experienced, but I felt that we could push on as were the younger team.”
Kevin McManamon was the man to put the ball into the net and score the goal that would propel the team to victory. “Kevin was unlucky not to start, but we are very fortunate to have impact players that we can bring in to the game. Kevin was one of those guys and did a great job for us all year.” So, where to for this team of young players? Pat was 23 when he won his All-Ireland county medal in 1995 and waited 16 years for the second, and that as manager of the team. Pat feels that there could be a championship or two more in this young group of players if they put the work in. “The average age of the team I was on was about 30. For this team it is 23. The lads know how hard it is to win it and if they continue to apply themselves and push hard they could win a few more,” said Pat.
With a 16 year gap since the last major football victory, Pat felt that winning was vital to the future of the games in the capital, especially with pressure coming from other sports. “The victory was hugely important for Dublin GAA” said Pat, “it lifted the whole city. There is huge competition from other sports in Dublin and this was a massive boost not only to Dublin, but with the large population also to the GAA as a whole”. A possible signal of things to come for Gaelic Games in the capital lies in the fact that four Dublin teams in either sport reached finals this year at Minor, U-21, or senior level and Pat agreed. “The future is bright. The hurlers gave us all a lift when they won the National League and that was great to see”. Pat also remarked on the growing popularity of the games amongst the youth of Dublin, and this victory will surely add to that.
Does the big man have the itch to come back and try to repeat the feats of 2011? Pat is not yet decided. “I have not made a decision yet. With work and getting a backroom team together I am waiting for some answers before I make a decision,” he said. Pat may not yet have a definite answer on that one, but something is for certain, there will be a great few days in New York and Boston the second weekend in November – especially for the Dubs!
The celebrations in Boston begin Saturday evening, November 12, at 7:00 when there will be a night at Porter Belly’s Pub in Brighton. Tickets are $100 and limited to 100 people. Music by Inchicore, appetizers, and a cocktail reception. Proceeds go to the Dublin Players Fund. The following day there will be a tour of the city. Venues and times to be announced. Check out our Facebook page, Friends of Dublin GAA Boston. For more information contact Sean McCormack or Rory O’Donnell.
By Rory O'Donnell