Celebrity Bainisteoir – The Cuala experience
Up for the match Friday night 6th March in Cuala GAA Club Dalkey
Des Cahill interviewed George Hook, Paddy Cullen, Katherine Lynch and Mickey Quinn before a large attendance in Cuala Clubhouse on Friday night’s up for the match. The general view from the George & Paddy camp was that it really was a David v Goliath affair and it was great Dromahaire were coming up to give them a game. The Cuala Club have sixty five teams (yes 65) so no one could argue with the description. However George Hook did mention that he felt Dromahair were a lot better than he was led to believe and he felt Katherine Lynch was telling him loads of sad tales of injuries, players not turning up for training etc. Katherine Lynch knows her football and knows exactly what she is doing. She grew up in a GAA house with Maureen & Tom dissecting every game played by Mohill over the last thirty years. The Cuala management team seemed cocky of winning and were not shy about showing it. The advance party of Dromahair supporters were looking worried at this stage but when Des Cahill asked Mickey Quinn’s wife Mary to the stage to sing Lovely Leitrim she really got the Dromahair supporters in the right frame of mind for the big weekend ahead.
On a beautiful sunny & mild day, streets in Dalkey were closed off around the Cuala Pitch to facilitate the crowds. The population of Dromahair seemed to be in Dalkey and Dublin based Leitrim supporters all travelled to the beautiful Dublin village. Gerry McGovern Chairman of Leitrim County Board took the train to Dalkey and on his way met up with the one and only Peter Gordon originally from Mohill. They were met at Dalkey station and taken to the venue via a guided tour of Dalkey. A number of supporters travelled from other clubs in the county to support the Dromahair team.
Who was there?.
Celebrity Bainisteoir is a Televised national event. Where there is a camera you will find a politician. Among the politicians present were Mary Hanafin, Barry Andrews, Sean Barrett, John Bailey, Mary Lou McDonald & Gay Mitchell. I am sure there were many others there I did not see or know. Two Leitrim men heavily involved in the Cuala club are Willie McHugh ( Mohill) and Enda McGowan ( son of Aidan McGowan Kinlough). Both men made Leitrim people especially welcome and the family atmosphere of the club reflects their massive contribution to it.
Cuala venue was expecting a large crowd and they got it.Marquees were set up in the ground where tea, coffee sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers were all available for young and old. All age groups were facilitated. In the club house you could get hot food and a beer, and mix with supporters from both clubs. Everything was in place for a wonderful game.
Dromahair received a massive welcome on to the pitch from its supporters. When Katherine Lynch appeared on the pitch and waved to the supporters the place went wild with supporters shouting Dromahair –Dromahair. The players told me afterwards it was unbelievable to hear the supporters shouting Dromahair. The game itself will be shown on TV shortly and will be worth watching. It will go down as one of the longest matches ever played as it involved normal time ( 60 minutes) + extra time ( 2 x 10 minutes) + extra time ( 2 x x5 minutes ). The winning score for Dromahair came with the last kick of the game and sent their supporters wild with delight. Grown men hugged and kissed each other, and there was a few women hugged as well. I witnessed one supporter hugging a tree.
After the game
Supporters converged on the pitch and were very reluctant to leave it. While the players were absolutely brilliant all the supporters sought out Mickey Quinn & Katherine Lynch. The team were brilliantly prepared and played with pride, passion, confidence and intelligence.
As a player Mickey never accepted defeat and you could see his input all over the team. Katherine loves a bit of fun but when a job needs to be done no better woman than Katherine. It was like 1994 when Leitrim won the Connacht Championship. It was a very special day.
RTE’S 1 afternoon TV presenter Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh conducted the after match interviews in a packed club house with George Hook, Katherine Lynch & Mickey Quinn. The Dromahair supporters seemed to outnumber the locals such was the excitement with the victory. Paddy Cullen did not attend and the Cuala gang were in total shock. George Hook certainly was shocked and thanked all his Cuala players and the Cuala club for all the support they gave him. Such was his state of shock he forgot to congratulate Dromahair. When Mickey Quinn & Katherine Lynch spoke the clubhouse roared its approval. David has slainÓgoliath and every Dromahair supporter present had been part of a very special day.