Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY – Festive thoughts

T’S mad to think that we are turning towards the end of another GAA season. Time seems to be passing more rapidly as the years progress.

Nonetheless, we have had a fantastic season when we look back on our Gaelic Games.

Limerick’s juggernaut continues in the hurling. The Dubs are back on top in the football. The split season has worked relatively well and the club championships are going stronger than ever so there’s not much more that we could’ve asked for as we review 2023.

Let’s start with this exceptional Limerick hurling team, who are this coming season aiming to do five in a row. I have to admit that I have admired this team from afar since their journey began, because it’s not that long ago that they were in the doldrums.

Yes, granted JP’s millions might have helped, but you still have to put in the hard yards. To me, they have taken hurling to a different level in terms of their skills and physical physique and it’s now up to the other teams to reach that bar that these lads have set.

I watched them being interviewed at an awards’ night last week and, much like that great Dublin team, they are seriously grounded individuals and it’s clear to see that the hype and hysteria will not derail them from achieving their targets. So watch out, the drive for five is very much alive.

In the football, the Dubs returned to the top of the charts in the football championship, and if we were led to believe accounts, this plan was hatched on the dance floor at James McCarthy‘s wedding late into the wee hours.

Having watched Dublin over the past few seasons, it was evident that the squad just wasn’t strong enough to go the distance so credit to Dessie Farrell and his players and as they say themselves they “got the band back together”.

Once the likes of Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion re-joined the squad, Dublin became automatic contenders once more and then Stephen Cluxton does what he does and just silently strolls back into the fold as if he had never left.

Whatever was said in that huddle on the dancefloor will go down as perhaps the best rallying call of all time and it will be spoken about in Dublin folklore for years to come.

Those lads obviously have a strong bond after what they have been through and achieved as a group, so when they made the commitment to each other at that wedding, it was just a matter of time before the Dubs juggernaut started to roll again.

The 2023 season finished last weekend, with the hurling club championships, and what a way to finish the year.

These club championships are the gift that just keeps on giving as clubs and players continuously outdo themselves year after year.

The standards in the club championships all over the country are getting higher each year and that is down to the hard work that is going on a grassroots level.


As we prepare to sign off for the silly season there are a number of teams who will be training harder than ever over the Christmas period because they have some big big games to play in early January.

This is a commitment that you do not see while we, the supporters, rock up to these games at the start of January and expect to be entertained.

In order to do so these club players must put their whole Christmas on hold to ensure that their bodies are able to deliver on those big days.

Best of luck to all of those teams over the festive season. It’s a great place to be in and I’m sure they count themselves as extremely lucky but we are supporters are extremely grateful for their commitment.

Next week I will look ahead to 2024, but for now all that’s left to do is to say Nolliag Shona daoibh go léir. Tá súil agam go mbeadh Nollaig ar doigh agaibh.

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