Roads, pathways, poles, houses and shops were bedecked in blue last weekend when Round Tower GAA Club welcomed Dublin’s All-Ireland senior football champions and Clondalkin’s very own Jim Gavin, the Metropolitan’s mentor, for a parade in their honour.
It was an historic occasion for the town with the route lined by hundreds of supporters of all ages who donned their Dublin colours.
An All-Ireland winning Gaelic football team coming to town is a very special occasion, but this event had added significance as the leader of the Dublin team, Gavin, is a Tower’s man.
As the Dublin team prepared to depart Monastery Road just past 6pm, crowds five deep had assembled on the side paths along the route. Clondalkin Youth Band led the way and a Garda convoy escorted the team bus.
Frank Roebuck, a stalwart of Gavin’s backroom team for Dublin and who has given a lot to GAA in Clondalkin through his teaching of Gaelic games at Clonburris and as a player and manager of Round Tower, held Sam Maguire aloft to loud local acclaim.
Fingallians’ Paul Flynn and manager Gavin spoke to the crowd of their great pride in achieving All-Ireland glory and of their gratitude for the welcome afforded to them. Gavin and the players spent considerable time signing autographs and taking pictures with the assembled fans.
Within the confines of the club, Gavin and Roebuck received a rapturous reception. Roebuck said that he was overwhelmed with the acclaim and his pride in his community.
Gavin paid tribute to the club and people who shaped him over the years, including past mentors and his parents, Jim Senior and Ann.
Club chairman Tony Delaney spoke of the club and community’s immense pride in Jim and Frank and their accomplishments and presented the bainisteoir with a specially commissioned picture to mark the occasion.
Delaney said: “I wish to extend a very big thank you to our members and the wider Clondalkin community who made Sunday such a brilliant and memorable success. The superb turnout reflected immense local pride and support for Jim and the Dublin footballers. It will be an event that will be remembered and recalled for many years.
“On behalf of the club I extend our gratitude to Jim and the Dublin team for the courtesy and friendliness they extended to club members and the Clondalkin community on Sunday. It highlighted what fantastic ambassadors they are for the GAA and, quite rightly, the people of Clondalkin are immensely proud of Jim.
“As a club, we are extremely proud of being an integral part of the Clondalkin community and it was fantastic to see the numbers who turned out to show their appreciation for the team, Jim and also Frank Roebuck.”