BRIGHT sunshine greeted the multitudes at Croke Park yesterday. It was the first day of the Allianz Dublin Cumann na mBunscol football finals.
There was excitement in the air. They brought their banners and they sang their songs. The lower deck of the Cusack became the theatre of screams.
Out on the pitch, there was a real feast of football. Christmas had come early in Dublin 3. Cumann na mBunscol have been cheering the city since 1928, and, remarkably, 64 teams will get to play on the famous turf over the two-day festival.
Many, no doubt, will go on to wear the Dublin jersey. One of the county's finest number threes, Dermot Deasy, was refereeing.
Spectators saw an exhibition of full-back play from Ben McCabe, who was playing for Holy Rosary, who also had the gifted Josh Dodd performing his magic in attack.
They were involved in a sparkling local derby against the talented Scoil Trease of Firhouse, who had an ace scorer in Ryan O'Neill.
Another ex-Dub, David Henry, was also in the building. He was coaching Holy Trinity against Terenure College.
Terenure have a deep and proud history in the GAA. It was the third time for the renowned rugby college to contest a final, and last week Denis Bastick and Eoghan O'Gara arrived with Sam to a standing ovation.
Their past pupils include Conal Keaney, Shane Durkin, Peter Lawrie, Anthony Stokes, Conor O'Shea and Girvan Dempsey.
David Henry would have been impressed with the defending of James O Finn of Gaelscoil Eiscir, Riada, who also had a class act in midfielder and free-specialist, Mark O Laimhin. They met the slick-moving St John the Evangelist, who possessed a very sharp attacker in Ben Ogieva. Shonagh Brady and Sarah O'Gorman were also in dazzling form for Mount Sackville against Scoil St James, whose electric eight, Megan Quinn, lit up the stadium.
Cian Harmon of Drimnagh Castle, and Scoil Cholmcille Knocklyon's Kevin Kirwan were also lords of the centre-field in a pulsating Sciath Kitterick duel.
St Mary's of Haddington Road played some stirring stuff, as did their opponents, Scoil Phadraig in the Corn an Choigiltis.