I’d be a big fan of the off-season. As much as I love training and playing hurling and football, I also love having a few months off to do as I please. If I want to play another sport I can do so, if I want to go drinking a little more frequently I can do that too. I find myself appreciating giving the body a rest more and more these days though.
Others are getting itchy feet already and we are not even three weeks into the winter break. The Shield win gave everyone a huge injection of energy and brought the whole group closer together. Fellas were onto me in the week after about keeping lads active with soccer or whatever during the winter.
We couldn’t get a hall for the soccer but Shane is on the case organising squash and we’ve also decided to arrange some full pitch matches. Personally I’d rather guys had a few months totally free of football but a match one night a week can’t do much harm.
It also gives lads who may have drifted off the scene a chance to come back into a pressure free environment and acclimatise themselves before the season kicks off in February. Last week we put together an email list of such guys and invited them to come back out over the next few weeks. The response so far has been good.
Quite what form the games will take I’m not sure. In the past we had a four team intra club league but we don’t have those numbers at the moment. I’m not too disappointed about that considering how heated that became. We may vary it up each week but everyone should get plenty of football.
That starts tomorrow night and then on Saturday we have the end of year dinner in de Valera’s. It’s a night that has never let anyone down. I think my first one was in 2005 or 2006 and there were around 10-15 people at it. This year we should be pushing 80 or 90.
One of the highlights of the night is always the people who make the effort to come back specifically for it. Ruairi, Ollie and Rochey are a few that spring to mind who are coming back this year. I think the fact that lads are willing to make such an effort says it all about what people here (and in many other GAA playing cities around the world) get/got out of the whole thing.
By coincidence I got a mail from a former player today saying how lucky we were to have it and how much he missed being part of it. He wasn’t here a long time but he caught the bug. It’s a sentiment that is repeated many times during the year as lads move on.
Thursday is a night for tearing lumps out of each other but Saturday will very much be a celebration of this year’s successes on and off the club.