Rush Athletic’s treble a perfect building block for future

by Dave Donnelly
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Rush Athletic remain on course for a remarkable treble as all three of their Leinster Senior League clubs are in contention to top their respective leagues.

The Sunday Division 3 side have already sealed their title with games to spare, while the Sunday Major 1 and Saturday Division 3 sides are within a win of taking their tin pots.

The Major 1 side – the highest-ranked of the three – have also got a potential cup final to look forward to should they see off the challenge of Larkview Boys on Friday night.

Rush will be up against it in the Kevin Nugent Cup it with a trip south to Kimmage to face a side pushing for promotion from the league above to intermediate football.

Regardless of the outcome there, the rosy picture enjoyed by the club is a remarkable turnaround from the rut the club was in just six years ago when chairman Adrian Kelly returned to the fold.

“We’ve a very good side,” Kelly tells the Dublin Gazette. “They’re very young – the oldest player on the team is 30 and there’s only one of them. The rest are in their early 20s, and three or four of them are teenagers.

“We have got a will this year just not to lose. They just keep fighting back when they’ve come up against it. We literally only lost one league game this season.

“We’re going for four in a row this year, but in the last four or five years I think we’ve only lost five league games. They’re a cracking strong side.

“When we set off this year, promotion was our aim, but now going for the league is a huge bonus again. To us, a cup final [would be] another day out for the club.

“We talk to other clubs and hear about them struggling to get players up training and using Saturday players on Sunday.

“We’ve an average of 50 lads training each week in three squads, so we’re really lucky. That’s why we’re competing on three fronts.”

St Kevin’s Boys and promotion rivals Ballyfermot United contest the other semi and, should the former prevail, it could set up a replay of sorts between the clubs.

Kevin’s were the opposition last year when Rush’s Saturday side lifted the Tom Carroll Cup – the club’s first cup win of any description in 16 years.

The club have since received backing from the local council and the FAI with a view to developing their own purpose-built training facility, something they’ve been badly lacking in recent years.

That has been put on hold for the time being owing to the uncertainty at the national association, but Kelly is confident they will manage to see the project through.

“There’s positive progress with the council – they’ve been strong behind us – but there’s been a bit of movement. The club is willing to get into a mortgage situation again to help buy this land.

“We’ve identified a plot of land we want and spoken to the people who own it and they’re positive about it.

“We just need to work on it, but we’re not giving up on it.”

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