Timely boost for Crokes ace
THE Department of Education is opposite the Pro-Cathedral. It's a vast building.
Plush carpets, polished tables, ornate high ceilings and a busy village of workers.
The top man, Ruairí Quinn, sweeps in. He has a bit of business to do.
But first there's a slice of banter. Kilmacud Crokes' hurling chairman, Peter Walsh, invites the minister to come out and watch the Crokes.
He didn't say no before venturing over to Conor O'Dwyer to compliment him on his achievement.
Conor has received a Crokes hurling bursary of €1,000 that will go towards the cost of his third-level education.
It was Seán Allen's idea, as Crokes and the Dublin hurling doctor, Professor Chris Thompson, explains.
"Seán wanted to have a scheme that would encourage the young Crokes hurlers to continue their education and, at the same time, put something back into the community."
Conor is a talented stick-smith. He already has two Dublin minor hurling championship medals in his bedside locker.
Now, he's on the side that are preparing for this year's minor hurling championship semi-final. That's quite a feat.
Conor has just begun at the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology where he's studying entrepreneurship. He was chuffed to receive the cheque from the minister, a fact underlined by Chris.
"We are grateful to the minister for giving us his time and support. Technically, he's from our parish, and, like Peter says, we hope to see him out at a couple of our matches!" The minister would have enjoyed the county final. "Yes, it was a super year for Kilmacud," adds Chris.
"Twenty-seven years is a long time since we won our last senior hurling championship.
"Sometimes we have had to live in the shadow of our football comrades and what they have done in the last few years. Now we have to do the same for hurling. It's so encouraging to see so many young fellas on the team. We'll hope to keep them at it and continue to try and make an impact at county, Leinster and national level."
Chris often thinks back to the image of six-year-old Seán McGrath standing on the sideline with his dad, Gerry. "It's fantastic to say that Seán is a Dublin inter-county man now.
"The success that the senior team enjoyed this year is thanks to everybody who put the work into these young players over the years.
"We work hard at Crokes, but we are not the only ones. There's huge efforts being put in all across the city and it can only benefit hurling."
Young Conor took the cheque, and the plaudits, happy to be a part of the Dublin hurling revolution.