herald

Saturday 16 February 2019

It's training men, Hallelujah

JUST THE TICKET: Capital's loyal supporters flock to see Dubs - and it's only a practice match

IF Kerry had any spies in Dublin last night, they will be reporting back on Dublin's 16th man.

The capital's most enthusiastic football fans lined out for a final time last night ahead of the Blues' first All Ireland appearance in 16 years.

Hundreds of Dubs supporters descended on Parnell Park to catch a glimpse of their heroes and Pat Gilroy's team repaid the compliment.

The Dublin seniors took to the Donnycarney field for a casual training session last night with over an hour for autographs and laughs afterwards.

The scheduled open session was organised to allow the faithful fans -- many of whom won't be able to get All Ireland tickets -- see the Brogans and co up close. Blues fan Patrick O'Kelly, from Coolock, can't wait for the upcoming battle: "I haven't missed a game since I was a child -- I've been coming to see the Dubs play for over 50 years."

Patrick, who brought along his grandson Lee Alan (8) last night, said it was brilliant to see the players interact with the kids.

Chairman of the Dublin County Board Andy Kettle told the Herald he was delighted with the huge turnout.

"It was great to see the number of young kids in Parnell Park, they were all thrilled to see the lads.

"Everyone was extremely happy to get such access to the players and, in fairness to the entire squad, they gave up their time generously and were happy to sign jerseys and get in pictures," Mr Kettle said. "Credit must also be given to Pat Gilroy."

For All-Star forward Bernard Brogan it was a celebratory finish to the week -- as the footballer completed his accountancy exams on Thursday.

"I'm happy they're done -- they were very tough and I''m wrecked," he said. The St Oliver Plunkett's man told the Herald he's looking forward to the showdown against Kerry in two weeks time.

"It'll be great, a big day out."

Meanwhile, Dubliner Daniel Harte said he'd do anything for his team -- even put them before his holidays.

"I came home early from a holiday once so I wouldn't miss a game -- I've been going since I was six-year-old."

hnews@herald.ie

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