Forget Christmas, its GAA season!
It’s that time of the year again. Coming up to Christmas, while we will all be enjoying the excesses of the festive season, the seemingly endless supply of Quality Street, Roses and Cadbury’s Heroes and of course the odd bottle of porter we know that just around the corner on 2pm Sunday 8th January in Páiric Elser, the old enemies meet when Down play Armagh in the Dr McKenna cup.
Now, this competition is not traditionally viewed as a must win by most supporters and county managers, it is used primarily to test the waters and see what shape the players are in after returning to their county for duty after some months of ‘taking her handy’. Try telling that to UTV sports presenter and Down fanatic Colm McAlinden.
Last year when the two sides met in Newry in the same competition I accompanied Colm to watch the game; we both went as sensible journalist types but soon descended in to a pair of squealing fans in the press box much to the bemusement of the assembled impartial journalists. Armagh won that night by the way.
Whilst we will follow Armagh or Down all over the country, our clubs too start to bustle with life again, as February will usually mark the beginning of another long and tough season for many. The battle cries of the local GAA club management teams will be heard echoing around the four walls of cold and damp changing rooms with the usual fervour and gusto that calls for the spark that will ignite the players into changing attitudes and becoming winners, promises from players to ‘stay off the juice’ until Championship time and ‘training every Monday and Tuesday night’ will become the norm.
Yes, the GAA season is fast upon us. As always, the Gaels of the Newry area will not be left wanting when it comes to club and county support. It is an integral part of our fabric in the Newry and south Armagh district. It is what makes us unique, we are known all over the island for our rich vein of culture with the successes we have achieved both provincially and nationally. Long may it continue, and I will see you all in Páiric Elser on Sunday 8th January.. Roll on!!
Be sure to read Seán’s article next week when he delves in to the issue of player migration and how it is affecting local clubs in Newry and south Armagh.
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