It’s seldom football talk isn’t top of David Tubridy’s conversation agenda during the month of June. When he isn’t playing for Clare he is to be found working behind the bar of the family’s bar and restaurant in Doonbeg. It’s a shrine to all things GAA with photographs and newspaper cuttings spread throughout the premises, many cataloging his exploits (and those of Dad, Tommy) in service of club and county.
However, the arrival of US President in these parts this week has trumped all of that — for a few days at least — and while the US commander-in-chief hasn’t ventured down to the village a few miles from his Trump International Golf Links and Hotel, sons Donald Jnr and Eric arrived into the family pub as young David was working behind the bar on Wednesday night.
David explained: “I didn’t know which door they were going to come in and everybody, the media had their phones and cameras pointed at me and I was thinking ‘what is going on here?’ They came in behind me, which was a surprise. There was a free pint on the house from Donald.
“Before Donald went for the presidency, the two brothers came down to the village. They came to all the pubs in the village and had a pint, which was great.
They seem to be down to earth guys, they’d talk away to you. They’re mad to take photographs.
Though the US president divides opinion around the world, you will find few critics in Doonbeg given the importance of the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel to the local community.
Tubridy explained: “There are neighbouring towns where I’ve seen people going off to America and Australia looking for work and around here Doonbeg has held its own (because of the hotel).
“Families are staying around. They’re building houses here so that’s huge for us and the community. The population is rising and the numbers in Doonbeg National School are going up so it all helps. Most of the people staying local are working in the hotel and golf course.
“A shuttle bus comes up and down to the village from the hotel and that’s free of charge. We’ve three restaurants along with five bars and we’ve new shops opening up as well. Not many small villages can say they have that.
“It’s massive for us. You saw the crowds that were in the village on Wednesday night. People came up from Cork to see if they could get a glimpse of President Trump. There were people from Roscommon. Two families who came into the bar yesterday had flown in from Boston.”
After a spirited but ultimately fruitless display against Kerry last Saturday, Tubridy and Clare await the next qualifier draw to see which first-round winners they will face on June 22.
“What killed us was the first-half performance. Things went a bit pear-shaped and we just kept losing ball whether it was in the tackle or kicking it away needlessly into the forward line. Kerry just adapted to the conditions better and kept it a lot slicker.
“In the second half, we just got in their faces and we turned over a lot of ball. We lost by six points but we had a better second half than them and one of the stats that came back was that we had more shots than Kerry in the game and we only converted 32%, or 33%. That return isn’t great and it is something we will have to work on going into the qualifiers.”
Derek McGrath and Ger Cunningham review the weekend's hurling with Anthony Daly