Thursday 14 December 2017

Deasy praises dazzling Dubs

Former full-back is impressed with Jim's Blues

DERMOT Deasy made his debut last Sunday.

It was his first time in St Tiernach's Park, Clones.

Walking up from The Diamond, following in the thousands of foot-steps that turn the town into a carnival on Ulster final day.

Embracing the same streets where Barry McGuigan played as a child, and were he found his first pair of boxing gloves.

Past the church beside the stadium and in through the turnstiles.

"I enjoyed it. It's a nice ground. There was a good atmosphere at the game," reflected Dermot.

He was among 10,000 spectators. Many had begun to drift for home long before the last bell.

"Dublin got such a good start and it was over from a long way out," stated Dermot.

"It was a top performance from Dublin. But then you don't know how good Monaghan are. But they are not a bad side, having beaten Kerry."

Now the teams meet next Sunday in the semi-final of the Division 1 Allianz Football League in Croke Park (4.0).

"It's an awkward one for Dublin. Monaghan will really have to improve on last Sunday's display.

"But there's more in this Dublin side as well because they took their foot off the pedal."

Yet the bottom line for the All-Star All-Ireland winning full-back is that the Dubs have another big game to ponder ahead of the summer.

He's a fan of the League, and he believes that a county should try and stay on the dance floor for as long as possible.

"Dublin won the last two League titles, and they did well subsequently. It's good to do well in the League.

"It's very beneficial getting these competitive games. It keeps the momentum going," he says.

He won the League with Dublin in 1993. The Blues beat Donegal in a replay. Donegal play Cork in the first semi-final in Croke Park on Sunday (2.0).

Pat O'Neill was the Dublin boss. Jim Gavin wore the number 10 shirt.

Dermot had good company in defence. Ciarán Walsh and Paddy Moran alongside him, and a prized half-back line of Heery, Curran and Deego.

Even the Clones Cyclone would have trouble breaching that barricade.

The Monaghan brickwork found it hard to contain the Dubs.

"Dublin played some very good football, the way the game should be played," said Dermot.

"Overall, it was a very positive display. There was sharp pace and movement in the team, and they took their scores well."

Dublin didn't waste many crumbs. They were clinical up-front.

Dermot was impressed by some of the young lads coming onto the side and taking their chance.

And the strength in depth was underlined by four of the scorers coming off the bench.

In all, Dublin had eleven different scorers. And another victory on the road helps to quieten the Dubs and the Croke Park debate.

"Yes, it's good for the team to go away to these provincial grounds and do well. It's never easy winning away from home. It's a boost to the confidence," remarks Dermot.

He played with much assurance when he was wearing the jersey.

He read the game superbly. And like all the top full-backs, he delighted in doing the simple thing. Win the ball and give off the pass. His priority was always to try and get out in front of his man to seize possession.

He was one of a celebrated Ballymun Kickhams full-back club, which included his brother-in-law, Gerry Hargan, and Paddy Christie.

Mastering the full-back role is one of the most challenging in the game.

It takes time and patience. But Dermot grew into the gloves.

He played for Kickhams as a juvenile. But in those days he was a midfielder.

He was a member of the brilliant Ballymun side that won two Dublin Senior Football Championship titles in 1982 and '85.

He was captain in '82, and he was thrilled when the Mun ended over a quarter-of-a-century without the big prize in 2012.

He was a Dublin minor, and he was on the side that lost the 1978 All-Ireland Minor final to Mayo.

He enjoyed his time with the Dubs. It included playing at full-forward against Meath in a League game.

A famous man was full-back for the Royals, Mick Lyons.

Mick didn't believe in treating his opponent to Afternoon Tea in the parlour!

"No, Mick had his own style alright," chuckles Dermot at the memory.

Yet, despite the presence of the most feared defender in the country, Dermot still managed to pop over two points!

Another member of the Royal family gave him more trouble.

Colm O'Rourke was one of the best forwards he played against.

"He was such a strong and confident forward who could take his scores," he says.

Most weekends, Dermot is out with the notebook and pencil.

He is one of Dublin's best referees. It keeps him fit, and in touch with the sport.


He salutes the work of Aidan Shiells and his colleagues.

And he'd encourage more former players to take up the whistle.

There's not many All-Ireland winners whistling in the Capital Showband. But Dermot is grateful for the opportunity. He takes charge of all games, at all levels.

One of the gigs he cherishes most is the Primary Schools Final days in Croke Park.

That's where the future Dubs are born. Grogan country.

Jim Gavin was one of those boys, and indeed Dermot has his own fond memories of his school days in St Kevin's College, Ballygall.

He was one of eight past pupils that won Sam with the Dubs.

The other seven were Fran Ryder, Gerry Hargan, John Kearns, Barney Rock, Anto McCaul, Mick Deegan and James McCarthy.

The football tradition at the school is as strong as ever. Ger Brennan teaches there.

Dermot can still remember the joy of getting a free class and getting to play football that bit earlier.

It's the joy that still jumps in his heart today.........putting on the referees gear or going out to watch the Dubs. It carries all the beauty of Kavanagh's poetry.

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