Ballymun Kickhams' Curran cites break in momentum as his only concern
February ushers the club championships centre-stage, that fractured old hotchpotch of a competition. For the teams involved, it must be like writing a novel on an old clapped-out typewriter. Just when you’re putting some momentum together, the clack-a-clack-bing stops for Christmas and by the time you come back you have to find new paper and hope the ribbon is still working.
Paul Curran took his Ballymun Kickhams side home to Dublin’s northside on Sunday, December 9th, and told them they were off the clock from that day forth for a full month.
He was as good as his word. On Tuesday, January 8th, they reconvened at the bottom of a hill in the Phoenix Park and were presented with the lie of the land that was going to run the festive out of them.
Back at base
A startlingly fit and supremely well-conditioned bunch anyway, it didn’t take too many sessions for them to find their mojo again and they were soon back at their base out beside Dublin Airport. Still, for all that they’ve been back kicking ball for a good three weeks now, Curran won’t know if his side have been able to properly pick up the thread again until they see what Dr Crokes have for them in Thurles on Saturday. By then it might be too late.
“It is difficult,” Curran says. “It’s the one thing I’d be worried about, if I was worried about anything. That long break, the break in momentum. We went from four games in four weeks in the Dublin championship, to a Leinster championship game every two weeks. And that just worked very well for us, having the games coming thick and fast. I think between the [Leinster] final and the [All-Ireland] semi-final there will have been nine weeks. It’s been difficult enough but we just have to deal with it. It’s the same for everyone.”
You wouldn’t say they’ve exactly been idle anyway. Curran had to have a word with a few of them to make them take a break and let their bodies rest.
“Some of them find it very difficult not to be doing something, guys like Dean Rock, James McCarthy and Alan Hubbard. I could name 10 or 12 players that would want to be doing something every day. The idea was that they would take a complete break and be fresh when they came back.”
Although Jim Gavin was happy to leave them alone – he has earmarked seven Ballymun players for his Dublin panel when they’re done – the Sigerson Cup wasn’t so kind. McCarthy, Rock and Davy Byrne have all been on DCU duty, with Seán George lining out for DIT. They could have done without it, especially since they’re all well aware their time at this end of the competition is precious. The Dublin championship has had six different winners in the past seven years, ditto the Leinster championship. “Well it’s a difficult competition,” says Curran. “We wouldn’t take anything for granted. It’s a step up for us again with Dr Crokes.”
Curran has seen them on television a few times but never in the flesh. He’s seen enough though to know they’re far more than Colm Cooper plus 14 black shirts.
“They look like they’re a running team,” says Curran. “They’re big up the middle and not so big on the wings. But at the end of the day you have to trust in your own system and style. You have to get on the ball and play your game and not be worrying too much about what they’re doing. But when they have it there’s no doubt we’re going to have to work very hard to get the ball back and try and limit the damage.”