Darren’s Diary – Kicking The Habit (Day 5) – Saturday, 24th February 


Well, it’s been a busy day and very little time to rest the mind and think.  Indeed, bar one conversation with a friend in Duggan Park today, cigarettes never entered my mind. 

I was up early this morning and on the road at 9.15am to meet the Sarsfields team in New Inn.  Was great being able to sit in the car and watch their training session one week out from the All-Ireland Final against Derry’s Slaughtneil.

They look in good shape and we’ve always known they’re a very talented group.  They are still young but their performance in the County Final against Mullagh shows they’re capable and if they can learn from last years’ experience, their place in history is within their reach.

After a stop-off to see my Mum, I’ve been in the Duggan Park at the Connacht PPS Senior A Schools Hurling Finals.  The Duggan Park is a Ballinasloe gem that is well looked after by a committed group of volunteers including Christy Browne and Willie Ward.

When Ballinasloe Town Council signed off with a €100,000 donation years ago for floodlight facilities, it should have been the catalyst to put resources into the ground and use it as a home to facilitate big matches and Galway teams.

Now, I must credit those who have brought Pearse Stadium and Kenny Park in Athenry up to standards that are a credit to Galway GAA.  Athenry is an immaculate surface and Pearse Stadium proved itself over the last two weeks being able to entertain all four Galway teams in two double headers.

And there’s a great group including Kevin Dwyer working on developing Tuam Stadium.  But Duggan Park has an important place in Galway GAA.  Pearse Stadium is the county’s number one ground but the residents don’t want floodlights.  We have our stadium, not let’s create a fortress for night time games.

Portumna Community School and Presentation Athenry were today’s winners with two impressive displays and will have reasons to be confident entering the All-Ireland series.  Recorded interviews from both camps afterwards and they are very focused about future challenges as well.

I’m sitting at my kitchen table penning the piece as I’m ‘officially’ doing dinner tonight.  Now, when I say that, it’s part of my learning process as Sinead is teaching me new things to cook.  Anyone who knows me can vouch my regularly disastrous displays in the kitchen but I am working on it.

I made fajitas last year and didn’t kill her.  But toast and coffee are my areas of expertise (I’m excellent at both 🙂).  We are having Chicken Kievs and so far, I set the timer on the oven.  I think I will be learning how to boil potatoes by the time you read this but cooking is something I like to learn properly.

Ireland and Scotland winning their rugby matches has capped off a good day and am looking forward to food and a movie.  Another busy day tomorrow with a trip to the sunny South East before rumoured temperatures of –10 degrees next week.  I’m sure there’ll be a diary entry highlight that if it occurs.

Hope you have a good Saturday evening and look forward to chatting to you tomorrow.