THERE was much to celebrate at the Evening Herald/Dublin Bus Dubs Stars awards ceremony at the Westin in downtown Dublin last Friday.
A delicious lunch, excellent company, Des Cahill as MC, and plenty to reflect on and look forward to.
The Westin Hotel is a former bank – the room was full of Dublin football and hurling gold. Players, mentors and officials whose commitment to the games can be summed up in one word – priceless.
Barry Cahill received the Footballer of the Year award. He is a true Dublin diamond and a Brigid’s brave.
Stephen Nolan took the Hurler of the Year accolade. A commanding, confident centre half-back, he told Dessie that the set-up at Ballyboden St Enda’s is like inter-county.
“I came to live in Sandymount. Malachy Travers convinced me to join Boden, which was only 20 minutes’ drive away. I knew how successful they were and it has worked out well,” commented Stephen.
There was a huge ovation for the magical Mickey Whelan, who received The Legend of the Ball honour.
“I’m truly grateful. But, in all honesty, I didn’t do all that much. I think people are having sympathy for me because I’m getting on a bit in years,” quipped the Dublin icon.
Mickey also accepted a specially framed picture of page one of the Evening Herald from the day after the All-Ireland win against Kerry.
It was the biggest selling Herald of the year.
The Dublin hurlers’ achievement in collecting their first National League title since 1939 was also marked as Dubs selector, Ciarán Hetherton, was presented with a treasured memento on behalf of the squad.
The Dublin hurlers will be back in action in the Dubs Stars match at Thomas Davis on New Year’s Day where they will feature along with Pat Gilroy’s footballers in the annual double-bill.
“We are looking forward to it,” remarked the Thomas Davis chairman, Andrew O’Donnell. “It should be a great occasion.
“We are lucky in that the Dublin hurlers will come as National League champions and the Dublin footballers will arrive, having won Sam.
“It’s a nice opportunity for all the children of the club, and indeed other clubs, to come out and see the Dublin stars.
“All the plans are in place now. We are ready for it and hopefully the weather will be kind.
“The games will be on the all-weather pitch on the Kiltipper Road. That is a fantastic facility and we owe so much thanks to all the people who worked so hard to put it there.
“David Kennedy is the chairman of our Dubs Stars committee, who have done a marvellous job in arranging the event.
“David is also the chairman of our Fundraising 2016 Club, and he’s a remarkable man. Any job he does in the club, he does well.”
Andrew has been with the club since U11 days under the famous Fr Andrew Kane. “Let’s say, I played a bit. I couldn’t say anymore than that because I’d be told in no uncertain terms what sort of player I was!
“But I have enjoyed every minute of my time here and I’m honoured to help the club in anyway I can.
“We had our golden days when we won three Dublin senior football titles on the trot in 1989, ’90 and ’91. And please God it won’t be too long before we win another one.”
The host club will have Paul Hudson on duty for the Dubs Stars. “Paul is a tremendous footballer and a lovely chap as well,” says Andrew.
Back in 2003, Thomas Davis also welcomed the Dubs Stars to Tallaght. That day ran with all the precision of the LUAS. An action replay is the confident prediction.