Darren’s Diary – Kicking The Habit (Day 19) – Saturday, 10th March 


There’s two things I didn’t imagine I’d ever be saying but they both happened today.  Watched a cracking All-Ireland Camogie Final in Louth.  And saw Ireland win the Six Nations in a pub in Delvin. 

Firstly, I’d like to give a big shout out to the Caman Inn in Delvin, Co. Westmeath.  We stopped off for dinner on the way home and everything about the service was top quality.  The customers were friendly, the bar person was lovely, the manager made us feel welcome and the food was excellent.

And they even gave Dermot the WIFI code so he could upload videos while I watched the second half of France verses England.  All in a good day’s work.

We were in Louth’s GAA Centre of Excellence for the All-Ireland Senior A Camogie Final today between Kilkenny’s Loreto College and Ballycastle’s Cross & Passion.  Dermot and I got to cover the finals in 2017 and struck up a good relationship with the two schools and were delighted to be asked do so again.

And it didn’t disappoint!  Loreto came out of the starting blocks in devastating fashion as goals from Katie Brennan and Ruth Kent sent them 2-10 to 0-0 clear.  Seriously, before half-time I was googling like mad to create fillers for the second half.

Cross & Passion pulled back two points before half-time but they upped the ante after the restart and the crowd both into the excitement.  Ciara Laverty and Roisin McCormick struck two goals within 80 seconds to get them back into the game.

Charley McCarry and McCormick added two more as they reduced arrears to three points at one stage (they had trailed by 16).  But Steffi Fitzgerald held her nerve to ensure it was Loreto’s day as they won out 2-18 to 4-8.

I probably shouldn’t be saying this on the eve of a National League semi-final but I have the highest respect for Brendan Williams and all the coaches in Loreto Kilkenny.  They set and deliver such high standards despite a third quarter collapse today.  And they are producing quality future Kilkenny stars.

But equally, I admire Cross & Passion and what they are doing to put Antrim camogie back on the map.  All the way from Ballycastle and their county’s first All-Ireland senior finalists and they didn’t let themselves down.  They refused to throw in the towel.

Interviewed McCormick afterwards and it was brilliant listening to her.  Normally don’t go near a player on the losing team but glad we did chat to her.  She held back her disappointment and spoke about her dreams of winning an All-Ireland with her school.

While I’ll obviously be wishing Galway’s representatives do the business in 2019, I hope I’m there if it does end up being Cross & Passions’ day.

Getting post or pre-match interviews can often be a chore and that is a mentality that GAA managers have brought in over the last few years.  Last time I checked, the media didn’t win or lose matches but it’s these pieces that help promote the various games.

Some players are absolutely fantastic to talk to like Sarah Dervan, Lorraine Ryan, Tracey Leonard and Roisin McCormick among others.  Darren Kelly can give a mesmerising commentary on a great game.  But it’s hearing from the players involved that’s going to generate interest in the sport.

It can’t be a free-for-all either.  I’ve been lucky with the managers I’ve worked with like Tony O’Donovan, Stephen Glennon, Lorraine Larkin and Tony Ward who have always been great at assisting in media duties.  And in turn, I know when to stay back and let the teams focus on the most important jobs of winning silverware.

We found a nice service station for a roll on the way up but really enjoyed the dinner in Delvin coming back.  Even though we weren’t drinking pints, it was nice to be in a pub again watching a big match.


Had no cravings of note today even if I did stave off temptation with some gums.  Gradually easing myself off the Nicorettes though didn’t want to risk a weekend without them and jumped out of Dermot’s van in Ardee to pop into a pharmacy.

However, I had to run after him to catch up before I got to him just when he found space to pull in.  Think when this challenge is complete, my next target might be couch to 5k.  We’ll finish this one first though 🙂

Finally, I’d like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mammies tomorrow.  I’ll obviously that personally to my own Mum (Joey), my Godmother (Pat) and Sinead.  I already did to two Cross & Passion Mammies we were chatting to before leaving Louth.  Can’t help spreading the love 😀 .  Good night.