When we were in touch with each other last week about the piece he did prior to the final, I said to Davitts Man that he’d have to do another one after the game to provide some details on the team’s homecoming. Although it’s not the kind of article either of us would have had in mind last week, I’m delighted to welcome him back into the guest slot to say a few words about Davitts’ poignant but proud return home last night.
So it’s the day after the night before and this isn’t the piece I was hoping to write but I felt I had to write something. There were a lot tired bodies and minds in Irishtown as the lads stepped off the bus to a well-deserved homecoming last night, however some were more tired than others by the time the night ended.
There was a surreal atmosphere in the air. Everybody was disappointed with how the day unfolded but we also had to remember what a tremendous year Davitts GAA club had. County champions for the first time since 1981, Connacht champions for the first time ever, it truly has been our greatest ever season.
So where do we begin? We have all experienced losing an All-Ireland final with the county, but with the club it was a totally different experience. We have known these lads all our lives. We have seen them in the good times and the bad. There was plenty of emotion on show as lads were hurting after a tough afternoon in Croke Park. Some lads knew it was their one and only shot in Croker, while others knew it could have been so different.
However this is not a time for negativity. We can be tremendously proud of what our lads achieved. Winter did not come to Ballindine or Irishtown this year as the locals had more important things on their minds. The two communities had always been close but these past six months a tighter bond was formed. Football matters occupied the hearts and minds of locals like never before. There was no recession talk as the only problems people had was how they would get to Tullamore or Croke Park and did they know anyone going who could give them a ‘seat’ up.
Things did not work out as we’d hoped but if you’d told the players and supporters at the start of 2011 how it would end nobody would have believed it. Well, it happened. Davitts GAA club played in Croke Park, the dream of every GAA man and woman, young or old. Okay, they weren’t crowned All-Ireland champions but by God they gave it one hell of a go and for that we have to thank each and every one of them and the management team for the effort they put in right throughout 2011 and into this year. Now we start all over again so roll on the 2012 O’Mara Cup!!
PS I would like to say it was great to see so many non-Davitts people in Croke park and at the homecoming party last night. Your support was really appreciated by all though I’m sure normal hostilities will resume shortly!