Rush’s dream double

by Dave Donnelly

Rush Athletic sealed a historic league and cup double in emphatic fashion as they beat Kilnamanagh 4-0 on Saturday to take the LSL Saturday Major 1B title.

The coastal side were crowned Tom Carroll Cup winners – their first trophy in 16 years – following a convincing 2-0 win over St Kevin’s Boys earlier this month.

And they went into the weekend needing just one further point to clinch the league crown and their third promotion on the bounce.

Declan White’s Saturday side hosted Tallaght side Kilnamanagh – who themselves needed at least a point to avoid relegation – while second-place St Mochta’s won 5-0 at home to Beggsboro.

The home side set about their business without fuss and led 2-0 at half time before adding two more after the break, with Dylan Kelly scoring twice alongside Brian Gillen and Alan Kerslake.

It’s a remarkable achievement for the club, having suffered an exodus of players at underage and senior level in recent years, which saw them plummet back into Saturday football.

An emphasis on improving coaching structures at schoolboy level have helped to reverse that trend, however, and Rush are once again a club on the up with aspirations of intermediate football.

“Three leagues in three years we’ve won,” Rush Athletic sectretary Derek Coffey told the Dublin Gazette.

“It is definitely exciting. It’s a young team – the average age is 23-24. All the lads are sticking around for next year so we’re in good shape for the next couple of years player-wise.

“We’ve had 98 training sessions over the winter and the lads haven’t missed any training sessions. They’ve had good coaches and managers keeping everybody happy.

“If you’re getting results, you keep players and you get new players wanting to play for your club.”

The club have invested in the coaching side of their game in order to stem a flow of their best players to wealthier northside competitors like Home Farm and St Kevin’s Boys.

That has reaped dividends with a young squad of mainly local-based players ushering in a new era for the club on and off the pitch.

Coffey continued: “We have all the coaches doing their coaching badges, so we can get better managers and that will extend down to the kids.

“They’re getting better coaching and they’re playing in better leagues, and that means we’ll be able to keep the players.”

Facilities remain a sticking point with no all-weather facility in the Rush area meaning they have to pay to put on sessions in Balbriggan.

“It costs you a fortune because you have to go to Balbriggan, which is ten miles away and you’re paying 60 or 70 euro for a night’s training. That’s putting a drain on club finances.

“We’re fighting the government and the council for the past few years for all-weather pitches.

“But because there’s no TD in Rush, we’ve nobody to stand up and fight our corner.

“We’ve a couple of councillors but councillors can’t do much. You’ve got to be a TD to get things done and get money.”

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