Pat Ring grimaces when he recalls the dark days. Tomorrow, Ring will send his Foxrock-Cabinteely side into battle against Cork outfit Mourneabbey, in what is the Dublin club’s third successive All-Ireland semi-final appearance.
It wasn’t always like this for Fox-Cab, who have Dublin All-Ireland senior medal winners Sinéad Goldrick and Niamh Collins in their ranks. In conjunction with Naomh Olaf, Fox-Cab first fielded an adult team in 2005, when Ring was a selector and Philip McAnenly was team manager. From there, Fox-Cab rose through the ranks, winning an All-Ireland junior crown in 2007. Then, as Ring recalls, the real challenge began.
“We went intermediate in 2008 in Dublin, and won the championship. So, we went from junior to senior within two years, which was tough. We went senior in 2009, and hit a brick wall for three years, particularly in Dublin, which was frightening. A lot of the players were still very young. We still have most of them now and they’re a lot more experienced, but we got some terrible hidings in 2010, 2011.
“Then the whole thing settled, we won our first [senior] championship in 2012 and we haven’t been too far off since.”
Fox-Cab didn’t compete in 2013, as a number of players were injured or abroad on J1s, before they lost the 2014 final to Na Fianna. Since then, the club has banked three successive Dublin senior crowns, and last year marked their first appearance in an All-Ireland senior final. Fox-Cab beat Carnacon to get there, but lost out to Donaghmoyne in the Parnell Park decider.
Now, they’re back at the business end of the season again, and Ring is looking forward to meeting up again with an old friend: Shane Ronayne, manager of weekend opponents Mourneabbey, coached Fox-Cab 12 years ago.
Ring recalls: “Shane was teaching in Dublin and Philip asked him to come in and help him with the coaching. We’d be in touch on and off and meet up occasionally, as we’re both involved in third-level football. I met him on Wednesday night in Cork, DCU were playing UCC and I spoke to him briefly after the game.”
For an hour at Bray Emmets GAA club, friendship will be put aside as Fox-Cab and Mourneabbey battle it out for a December 3 final place.
Ring has no major late injury concerns, but they are without county player Amy Connolly, who sustained cruciate knee ligament damage earlier this year.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved