Ballymun Kickhams Alan Hubbard: We're ready to step up once again
We can't afford to slip off pace warns Kickhams stalwart ahead of opening tie
THE curtains open tonight. The biggest show in town.
The Dublin Senior Football Championship brings the sound of music to the city.
Alan Hubbard loves being part of the cast. He's a brilliant half-back. One of the best around.
He holds good memories of Paul Curran's time at Pairc Ciceam. Four fabulous years.
The club's first Dublin title since the golden days of the electric 80s, when they had one of the top teams in Ireland. Celebrated names at every turn.
"Paul is an exceptional manager and we are grateful for all that he did for us," says Alan.
But now there's a new red and green dawn. Anto McCaul, Val Andrews and Declan Sheehan are at the controls.
"It's a fresh start for the team and the new guys coming in. It's exciting times, and we are all looking forward to it."
The Mun Roadshow arrives into Parnell Park tonight where Parnell's await. The Coolock club also had memorable days back in the 80's.
Kickhams will go in as favourites, but Alan won't be reading that script.
"The standards in Dublin club football are so high now. All the clubs are working so hard. And if you don't perform on the day, you will be in trouble."
The Ballymun brand is a popular one. In winning the crown, they developed a brisk, incisive style that was based on a compact defence that rarely had to call the plumber.
They moved the ball up-field with pace and precision, and their finishing was as sharp as a Louis Copeland pinstripe suit.
A high level of fitness and discipline tied up the parcel with string.
A sprinkling of Dubs also added to the package. And it's the same today.
"We have six lads with Dublin and they are all giving a good account of themselves. We are all delighted to see the Ballymun players doing well with the county and it's good for us.
"If things are going well for Dublin, they bring that confidence back to the club."
And Alan feels there's a few more Ballymun men who are more than capable of answering the county call.
And making an impact in the county championship is the best way to keep knocking on the door.
Yet making the magic blue carpet is no easy journey. The competition is fierce. Even in Alan's hallowed half-back department.
He looks at Ballymun's James McCarthy and Clontarf's Jack McCaffrey, two fellas who could out-pace the Road Runner.
"If those two get up a full head of steam, fellas might as well just give up. They won't catch them."
And there's another club colleague, Philly McMahon, a secure corner-back who can add to the balance sheet.
"Most corner-backs these days are naturally good footballers.
"And being honest, they'd probably prefer to be playing further out the field rather than being inside one-on-one.
"Dublin defenders like Philly and Jonny Cooper are fine footballers and they can come up the field and create attacks."
Gaelic football is ever-changing. But one thing remains constant - the dream of wrapping your arms around the Clery Cup.
Ballymun hope to put their first step on the ladder tonight.