IT WAS Gerry McGill who first brought Tommy Brown onto the Dublin management ticket. That was four and a half years ago.
It’s been an adventure. Some downs and ups. “Eventually we got to where we wanted to be,” remarks Tommy. That was climbing the steps of the Hogan Stand last September.
Clutching Brendan Martin had proved elusive and had seen a couple of visits to the Heartbreak Hotel.
Now Tommy is the bossman. He has already one ace on the CV – leading the Jackies back to Division 1.
“The key this season was to get promotion so that the team would be playing Division 1 football next year,” offered Tommy. “Winning the Division 2 final was a bonus.”
The Dubs beat Meath in that Parnell Park final. Now on Sunday they welcome them again to the capital – this time in the championship.
“It’s good that we don’t have to travel. I remember a couple of years ago we played them in the Championship down in Navan.”
That was on a sunny Saturday. The Dub, Brendan Dardis, was managing Meath. Dublin hit five goals. One of them came from sensational new recruit, Lyndsey Peat.
Peat brought her basketball hands to the table. And her all-action style added to Dublin’s drive. She plays with refreshing energy.
Tommy is not expecting five goals in Portmarnock. But he is predicting a difficult assignment.
“We got a good test from Meath in the league final, and we’d expect nothing less this time.”
On the morning of the league final, four of the Dubs sat exams. Sinead Aherne delivered a Donnycarney master-class.
She scored nine points (six frees). The Dubs won by nine points. Sinead Goldrick got player-of-thematch. Amy Ring, Olivia Leonard and Mary Nevin got the goals.
“They got close to us in that final. Closer than the scoreline suggests. They had a couple of near misses.”
The Blues know all about near-misses themselves, especially in the championship. They have learned much.
Mick Browne’s presence in the dugout is valued. He was also part of the McGill summer school.
Mick’s tactical knowledge is highly respected. So too the pedigree of Angie McNally, the newest member of the Dublin management.
Angie’s level of perfection as a player underlined her commitment to the shirt. And she now brings that same attitude to her coaching role.
Mick Ryan’s arrival also strengthened Dublin’s position. Mick is a messiah in Waterford.
Tommy is happy to have such a high calibre unit with him as the Dubs go in search of gold again.
He too has plenty of flying hours in the cockpit. For years he ran hurling teams at Naomh Olaf with Brendan McGlynn junior.
At Olaf ’s he played football and hurling, “but I was getting too many injuries playing every weekend, so I gave up the football in my mid-20s.”
He still plays a bit of junior hurling when he can, but now the Dublin gig fills his hours.
“It’s busy. The National League is a long aul slog. We only played the final of that last month.
“You wind down a bit after that, but you soon have to step it up again for the championship.”
The right result against the Royals will see the Blues head for Dr Cullen Park in Carlow next month to play the winners of the other semi-final between Laois and Kildare.