Faughs making pitch for future
IT will be afternoon tea for the presidents next Sunday. They are going to Faughs.
Christy Cooney and Joan O'Flynn won't be short of notes.
Faughs have won 31 Dublin Senior hurling Championships, a record. And some of the most colourful characters in the Association's history played for the club.
Faughs are 125 years old. Remarkably, they have never lost their senior status.
"We are very proud of that fact," confirms chairman PJ Newman.
Sunday is another historic moment. It's the official opening of the club's new all-weather surface and ball wall (3.30pm).
High noon will begin the proceedings, when the all-weather pitch will stage a series of juvenile games. Then, at 2pm, it's the senior meeting of Faughs and St Patrick's, Ballyragget, Kilkenny.
The club have strong links with the black and amber. One of Dublin's true hurling icons, the sadly missed MJ Ryan, also played for Kilkenny.
Down through the years Faughs was the Mecca for country folk who arrived in Dublin to work. They assembled some teams over the decades.
Some never left. Eamonn Ned Rea, Limerick '73, became part of the Faughs furniture.
Their tradition runs deep. Yet the Faughs are modest folk. They have a nice gentleness about themselves.
If they wished, they'd have so much to sing about. Bob Mockler captained the Faughs team, representing Dublin, to win the All-Ireland in 1920.
When the Dubs last won the All-Ireland in 1938, five Faughs men were on the team. And the memory of Tommy Moore still glows.
Tommy was the Faughs chairman for 40 years. He had a pub in Cathedral Street. For hurling people it was the centre of the universe. The All-Ireland club hurling trophy is named after Tommy.
Bourke's of Wexford Street was also a home from home for Faughs. It was there that they began planning for the future.
"Things have changed so much now," says PJ. "Before, we were a rural club in Dublin with so many country players joining, but now we are very much a parish club.
"Our juvenile section is doing very well. We now have more members than ever we had. These new facilities will help the young players develop the skills of hurling.
"The players are now beginning to come through at senior level. We are building a good side there now. The former Clare hurler Stephen McNamara is the manager."
They say from little acorns... Faughs were formed under the big three in the Phoenix Park. Their first meeting was at number 4 Gardiner's Row, the then home of Michael Cusack, now the Dergvale Hotel.
The club played for years in the Phoenix Park before going to Dolphin Park and St Anne's Park. They finally moved to Tymon in 1981.
The president, Paddy Hillery, opened the clubhouse in 1986. Now two presidents will be cutting the tape.
The pictures on the walls will remind them of a glorious past.
The work that's being done today points the way to the future.
And it's the hours spent honing the touch at the ball wall and on the all-weather that will see more pictures being hung along the corridors.