When Paddy Christie first took a nine-year-old Philly McMahon training he could never have imagined the youngster would be going for a sixth Celtic Cross, in fact he probably would have laughed it off.
Only because even winning one All-Ireland back then was considered such a mammoth task for the team. But if the Dubs defeat Tyrone tomorrow afternoon, that’s exactly what the Ballymun man will have.
All-Ireland fever is beginning to take over the capital – though a bit slower than usual – maybe with schools only back this week, it’s taking a little longer to take off.
Christie – who has just taken over as principal at Kilcoskan National School in St Margaret’s – said the chatter about who has tickets and who needs them was the hot topic yesterday morning.
Though being near the border with Meath means it’s not just ‘Come on you Boys in Blue’ coming from the mouths of the pupils.
“There was a nice atmosphere here this morning, we’d the bunting up at the front of the school and plenty of photos,” Christie said.
“A few of the Meath lads started shouting for Tyrone during the photos, that was hurtful now,” he joked.
Asked about Philly’s medal haul thus far, Christie admitted it was “hard to believe”.
“If you told me that he would end up with possibly that amount of All-Ireland’s, I would have just laughed it off,” he said. “They were the days when winning just one All-Ireland would have been great and winning a Leinster was a big deal.”
Christie says he expects Dublin to win, but they need to guard against complacency, adding that this current crop of Dublin players won’t last forever and supporters must “make hay while the sun shines” if they come out on top on Sunday.
Elsewhere, in a Ballymun school, there’s hope that past pupil James McCarthy will collect his sixth All-Ireland too.
Sacred Heart Boys National School have a history of Dublin footballers that would be the envy of many.
Heroes of the Hill who’ve also passed through their gates include, Barney Rock, Dermot Deasy, Gerry Hargan, Anto McCaul and John Kearns to name a few.
Fourth class teacher, Niall Carty said it gives the children an ambition to replicate these heroes, particularly current stars, McCarthy and Conor McHugh.
“It’s unbelievable – it’s just a great inspiration to the kids here,” he said.
“In fairness to James [McCarthy] he’s been in here a lot over the past couple of years to give out medals and that. When they look up at him and see that he was sitting there in the same classroom, it inspires them,” he added.
Meanwhile, as match day for the big game approaches, and the usual squeeze for tickets takes place, undercover gardaí will be in place to clamp down on ticket touts around the stadium tomorrow.
“The illegal sale of tickets forms part of our policing plans at major events, and will be targeted by both plain clothes and uniformed gardaí at concerts and major sporting events taking place this weekend,” a Garda spokesman said.
“Gardaí have the powers to deal with unlicensed sale of tickets under the Casual Trading Act 1995.”
This act allows gardaí to arrest vendors selling tickets in a public place without a licence, with gardaí also having the power to seize the tickets. Fines can be issued by gardaí ranging between €50 and €10,000 depending on if it’s a repeat offence.