The words below were submitted anonymously and reflect the feelings of many Cuala Members surrounding the journey we have traveled with our Senior Hurlers over the past few years.
When I was a boy the colours of red and white were very dear to me, due to the sense of identity and belonging they afforded me. But most importantly because of the people who wore these colours. My class mates, my friends, and especially… the big guys, barely older than us but our role models our local heroes… Dayo, Jo and all the Holdens, Batty, Kirwan, the Comerfords, the Sheanons. I was six inches taller in the company of these people. The list of names is endless and has served me well as I sit in the stands, reflective in my middle age. Who could have predicted that we would enjoy such a golden age? From a scrappy sloping hill in The Noggin, climbing walls to retrieve a sliotar, at risk of being attacked by the pigs in the neighbouring field, through the decades to the majestic heights of Cuala -Back to Back All Ireland Hurling Champions.
As we left the pitch in Parnell Park yesterday I heard a quip ‘every life must have a little rain’. And sure, it didn’t feel good walking away from what could have been. But I felt nothing but pride and gratitude. Would a three in a row have made us happier, more content, joyful? And then what? The boys in red and white went out with a bang yesterday as they showed in the last twenty minutes what made them the greatest Dublin hurling team of all time. Trail blazers. The monkey is now off Dublin club hurling’s back, it’s only going to get better. Yesterday our players drifted off the pitch quietly and with dignity, the old enemy could have their day, they had earned it.
Over the last few years Mattie and his team have broken the four-minute mile, climbed Everest and rowed the Atlantic, all for the first time. They didn’t follow the well-worn path. They beat a new one and left a trail. They have also repeated what the generation before them did. They wore red and white and played a game of hurling for the love of it just as when they were kids. Cuala’s ‘Back to Back All Ireland Hurling Champions’ went on a journey and they brought thousands of us all along with them. Everyone…. the only criteria was the red and white. So now there are new names to list off and some old names of a new generation. And these men are now revered by my son, as a young man forging his own way in life. What role models, what local heroes. How lucky are we. To the stars and the guys who toiled and toiled, to the backroom team and the leaders… thank you, it has been a wonderous privilege so far and we can now dare to imagine what lies ahead. Cuala Abú!