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Monday 25 September 2017

Na Fianna's doors open

IT was a few years ago now. Early Sunday morning on the Mobhi Road. There's something about a Sunday morning. The Na Fianna senior footballers had a crucial Division 1 League Relegation clash. Pillar was putting out the flags.

That squad were subsequently to go on a memorable pilgrimage through Dublin, Leinster and all the way to Croke Park.

The furniture has changed since. A top-of-the-range clubhouse looks down on an all-weather surface.

Bertie came to cut the ribbon. The sun came out. It will be the same with the crowds next Sunday.

Na Fianna are holding an open day for the local community. "We want to show them what we are about," explains club PRO, Cormac O Donnchú.

"We'd like to invite everybody to come along and see our facilities, facilities that have been built due to all the hard work of our members going back the generations."

Cormac suggests that the good folk should stop for lunch. Locals say it's the best Sunday lunch in town.

But parents beware. There will be a dunking machine on the grounds. The club's Dublin players could be prime targets. Tomás Brady will be keeping the helmet on.

"It's going to be a fun day for all," adds Cormac. There's so much to see and do. The action packed programme runs from 1pm to 5pm. Brian Ormond will be the host and compere.

The menu will include a hurley making demonstration, a handball exhibition, céilí dancing, a traditional carnival, a farmers' market, children's storytelling and drama, face painting, a sports warehouse clearance sale and exhibition games.

Na Fianna have 2,500 members. They field 100 teams. Their newsletter, Nuacht na bhFiann, has more features and pictures than the RTé Guide.

There's a charming picture in the publication of two juvenile camogie players shaking hands -- 'Habits for life' is the caption. There's so much going on at the club that it's no surprise to see the editor announce 'Due to pressure of space, material had to be held over until the next edition'.

Many of the club's Dublin players will be present on Sunday. Mary Nevin has been a first-class ambassador. She was player of the Match in last year's All-Ireland Ladies Football final.

She helped Na Fianna bring home their first Dublin Ladies Senior Football title, while handball heroes Frank Daly, Egin Jensen and Paddy Clerkin have recently captured the silver.

Grainne Ryan helped to launch Na Fianna's Lá na gClub. Grainne is one of the club's finest camogie players.

Dublin U21 football skipper, Jonny Cooper, was also on hand.

Brian Ormond will also be happy to hear that the Na Fianna crew are also talented off the pitch. They are big supporters of Scór.

Like the footballers, the hurlers also hit the right notes as they climbed from the Senior B Championship into the top League.

The sliotar continues to spin upward. There's a galaxy of talent coming through.

"We actively promote participation in all club activities regardless of age, gender, race and religion," states Cormac O Donnchú.

He's promising a good show on Sunday. Something for everybody in the audience, including the glittering Dublin Féile Division 1 trophy.

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