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'Nothing like the roar of the Hill', says Dubs legend

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Dubs legend Barney Rock

Dubs legend Barney Rock

SPORTSFILE

Dubs legend Barney Rock

The spirit of Molly Malone will be on Hill 16 during tomorrow's clash between Dublin and Cavan in an empty Croke Park.

In September, Dubs superfan Tony Broughan, who spent decades dressing up as Molly Malone complete with dress and wig, waved his bell for the last time.

The stalwart fan was a regular on the Hill and although the stands will be empty, Tony's son Terry will be outside with his son Tighe carrying on the tradition.

"I'll be dressing up in the wig and the dress in the Dublin colours, and ringing his bell. Dad will be there in spirit and someday we'll get back onto the Hill in his memory," said Terry with pride and emotion.

"We're all heartbroken, but we'll keep it going and we'll keep his spirit alive," he added.

Terry and son Tighe will listen to the game from outside Croke park, getting as close as they can to the action while keeping themselves and everyone else safe as the quest for six titles in a row gets one step closer.

The Covid-19 pandemic nearly even killed-off the championship entirely, but the GAA found a way.

The weather will be colder and the game will be played under floodlights, but Dubs legend Barney Rock, father of six-time All-Ireland winner Dean, says the biggest difference on the day will be the lack of a crowd cheering the two teams on.

"It will be a big difference for supporters who will have to watch from home or socially distancing somewhere, but it will also be a big difference for the players. There's nothing like the roar of the Hill," he told the Herald.

Barney earned his place on the All-Ireland winner's list in 1983, and his son Dean has collected six All-Ireland medals, earning his first in 2013, and the rest in the five-in-a-row between 2015 and 2019.

"It will also be hard for Cavan. They have great supporters and always feel their presence, and Croke Park is a big place when the stands are empty," he added.

There was massive excitement last year when Dublin were aiming to reach the elusive five-in-a-row, but this year has been a more subdued affair.

But Barney says Dean and the team will be treating tomorrow's game like any other.

"They will have that drive. They'll take nothing for granted," he said.


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