"What is it," he asked. "What is it?"
The Irish cup is a love affair. Teams travel the four corners of this country searching for an elusive prize. From under 12 to 18, three hundred team across Ireland enter this great competition. The big teams sail through their regional/divisional games. They presume national success....six nil, five one, maybe a close 4 nil thrown in...four games in and they are relishing success...they showed up against the same old teams, won, and moved on.
From an original 300, 16 clubs remain from across the land. The draw is made and the tide changes. No longer facing the same old rivals; no longer sitting in their own dressing room; no longer recognising the referee; no longer knowing the wind and the slope of the pitch; only knowing and fearing what you don't know.
2 of these clubs, last Saturday, followed a set of directions...from the midlands, from Bray...got off at Oranmore, took a left at the roundabout, a right at Fury's cross, continued for 2 miles, stopped, Casey's Cross, stayed right at the fork, went up the hill, entered the woods...they looked right and saw our "home in the woods."
Any visiting team arriving would be struck by the setting. The trees and the woods, the rolling landscape, the panoramic view. They park their bus, look around, and wonder, Colga FC, and they try to figure it out....many come from the big leagues, with carpet perfect surfaces, majestic clubhouses, warm showers and dressing rooms....as a club we know, it's coming, not quiet there yet, but it's coming...
And they all got a welcome, nearly in the hundreds, as little men from Portloaise and Bray and Colga pitted themselves against each other, my goodness, they got a welcome. Our home in the woods reverberated with shouts of anguish, of nearly's of what should have been, and eventually what was...both sorrow and joy. Between heroic penalties and injury time goals, joy for the home team, sorrow for the visitors, the tide had turned....and they all shared a cup of tea, a coffee, a cake, a sandwich, all welcomed and included in our home....and they talked about the love affair that began months and months ago and what they dreamed about.
And, as the buses departed, the crowds left, and our home in the woods became quiet again, 2 teams still had that dream. And, he looked up, and asked, "what is is, Dad, what is it.....it's belief."