Where it all began, a Dubs fans obsession with Dublin GAA.
I was about 7 years old when I was to become a GAA Fan in a serious way.
I had been to games as a baby and pre 3 year old but following the death of my father, I had no one to take me to games until my mates father heard that I loved the Dubs and he started bringing both of us to the League and Championship matches.
Thus began my lifelong obsession with Dublin GAA.
I can remember being in awe of the crowds of blue clad men and women winding their way through the narrow streets that surrounded Croke Park , the cacophany of noise, the banter, the street vendors selling the Paper Mache hats that dyed your forehead as the dye ran in the rain or sweat.
I remember looking up at the stadium thinking how huge it seemed, and climbing the central steps that ran up the back of Hill16 before cresting the top and being greeted with ‘that view’ God I was stunned by that, and it still gives me chills today, long may that continue!
I remember listening to the grownups and hearing more swear words than I understood, and then the raucous laughter that followed it.
All of a sudden a tumultuous roar erupted and I caught my first sight of the boys in blue, as they emerged from the tunnel onto the hallowed turf.
I had never heard such noise, it crashed over me like a wave, and even though I was a little frightened, I was also in awe of it all. I knew this was special, I knew I was hooked for life.
I remember the roar of the stands when our opposition ran out and someone saying, we have them outnumbered…again..
I can remember the team posing for the team photograph on those long benches they used to use, and then the Artane boys band struck up a tune and the teams fell into step to parade around the pitch.
The crowds rose to cheer the teams, and it just got louder and louder as it approached the Hill.
Come on you boys in blue sang the faithful, and the flags and banners flew a wall of sky blue and white ..yes white..this was pre navy days.
The teams broke away and the band played the National Anthem which sent (and still sends) shivers down my spine. I felt so ‘Irish’ that day, a connection made with my people and our heritage.
Then the band played as they marched off the pitch,
and the ref checked his watch, blew his whistle and threw the ball into the air..time flew for 70 minutes.