It does not happen often, but, everynow and again, you really understand what it means to be part of a club. Tonight, our men's team, returned from Connemara having beaten MacDara and won their league. As the lads gathered for a few pints and sat down together to share a meal, you could sense the energy and satisfaction in the room. I walked in and saw the cup...I wasn't sure how to describe it...small and slightly wonky... But, you know what, it didn't matter, each of the team picked their cup up and reflected....August pre-season, 14 league matches contended, some horrificn pitches and weather, and, they emerged as winners - how can there be any better feeling. Most of the team have grown up playing with Colga, some have left for a spell, and it has been a while since this group had shared any success - tonight, you get the sense of a journey recommenced. The first step towards something slightly unknown, but, filled with potential.
Earlier today, I met a former Colga coach - he had just arrived in Kilcornan with his team getting ready for an under 12 league match. I bumped into him in the car park of the new clubhouse just beside the fence with all of the club's new sponsors. 12 months ago, he left the club, didn't feel it was quiet right, the structure and support just wasn't there...he glanced around, reflected, and said, "this is unbelievable, the change and progress is stunning. And, and, the place smells of football." To me, there cannot be any better compliment.
I left him and got our own team ready for the match. We warmed up and then sat in the dressing room together. "Can you smell it lads," and they looked at me worridely, "there is no smell like this in the world. This is the smell of football." And out they strode, walked down the new steps, onto their new pitch, and knew they were part of a club.
Tonight, I got the next bag ready. For all that happened today, tomorrow ignites another journey. Our under 10 team heads off to compete in Mayo in another tournament. My son plays...I can only try to guess into his mind. He has his gear bag ready...his boots, not exactly clean, his socks and shinpads, he is worried because he has no tape, his shorts, his jersey, and his Colga hoodie. His questions - what time are we going, who are we playing, is it on grass? I asked him how he was feeling about the matches tomorrow and he said...."Dad, I have that feeling....you know, I can't wait but I've got that strange wonky feeling in my tummy."
I know, I said. "Every now and again, and it's not that often, sometimes you just get that feeling."