Newcastle home is a happy haven
St Finian's spend many hours tending to their scenic rural retreat
There's a little chapter of the old Croke Park at the Newcastle home of St Finian's. It was donated to the club by John Moore of Aylmer Road.
It's from the Upper Cusack Stand. Two seats. Section H.H. Row G. Seats 216 and 217. The seats were in Croke Park from May 7th, 1938 to October 14th, 1993.
No doubt, those that sat in those seats all through the years saw much drama. And the club's own ground has seen many memorable duels too.
One of the best days of all was when the Dubs came to the village. Pat O'Neill the manager. 1993. The Good Doctor fine-tuning Dublin to win the All-Ireland.
They played Roscommon, managed by one of the greatest of them all, Dermot Earley. A person of the highest integrity and decency, principals that Finian's value most among their own people.
It was a game to mark the golden jubilee of St Finian's. The venue is a real jewel of the county. Breath-taking scenery. The fresh air turning cheeks rosy.
The locals come to walk the path surrounding the floodlit pitch. There's neat benches. There's a fine clubhouse and car park. A little sign-post adds to the charm.
"Yes, it's a nice facility to have, and it's well supported by the local community," says Frank Scanlon.
Frank, Con McCarthy and Richard Scott manage the club's AFL Division 4 squad. Many of the players have played right up from the U-8 ranks.
"We always look to produce a performance. And if we do that, we are happy," states Frank.
"In any match, we hope that the performance will be good enough to get the result. But if not, we'll learn from it for the next day.
"We have a great group of lads here. There's a good spirit in the camp."
Like all the leagues these days, there's never any picnics in Division 4 of the AFL. In recent years, Finian's have never been far from the business end of the season. And it's the same again this term.
"It's a close-knit team. Newcastle is a small village, and we make the most of the numbers that we have," explains Frank.
The men have a second adult team, while there is also a senior ladies football side.
The Juvenile section adds to the optimism. Boys and girls in the Nursery. Taking their first steps on the hallowed village green.