Martin’s blog: Dreaming of O’Driscoll

Martin’s Blog

AFTER the World Cup in Brazil, I claimed on a previous blog that I was absolutely starving for the football and that I could not see how we could all survive on meagre pre season football rations until the premiership season started again.

Well, somehow we have all managed to cope with this hiatus in the football calendar. I am now back attending premiership football matches at the Emirates, my boy has had a few under 9 games for Thurrock, Cesc Fabregas is of course an instant success at Chelsea, Orient and the Daggers are not doing so well and West Ham are bouncing along. No crisis or fall out at Upton Park for Sam just yet and we don’t speak of that other football team in North London.

Locally, I have been pleased to see the senior side at Thurrock, ‘the Fleet’ get off to a wonderful start to the season and Grays Athletic are also doing quite nicely, thank you.

During that fallow time between the World Cup and start of the football season, we, the sporting mad Healy family have taken to watching Gaelic Games, cricket, horse racing on the flat and the rugby. Whilst Gaelic Games, cricket and horse racing on the flat have just a small overlap with Football, it is my complete love of rugby that is causing me huge internal conflict at the moment.

In the past, i quenched my thirst for rugby action with a few choice 6 nations games and following the Irish provinces in the European Heineken Cup. I may, even, in a good year get down to the odd rugby match at London Irish.

Now the rugby genie is firmly out of the bottle, more and more British and Irish rugby players are plying their trade in France, so i have to watch at least one Top 14 French game a week, the curse of Southern Hemisphere time zone means we are currently in the middle of their Rugby championship season and now the Celtic Pro 12 rugby season is back, i can watch my beloved Leinster on a weekly basis. All made possible by the excellent coverage on Sky Sports and whoever invested the SkyGo app on my tablet is an absolute genius. We are totally hooked.

My great friend, Ken Laybourn, youth chairman at Thurrock RFC convinced me during the preseason to bring my boy along to Minis training at Oakfield. Every Irish dad’s dream to breed the next Brian O’Driscoll, every Irish Dad’s duty to endeavour to do so. Whether the little man takes to the rugby, what will we do about his Football, can we avoid the Sunday morning overlap. Why can’t these two excellent winter sports not coexist? We are just another family of divided loyalties with tortured souls.

I shouldn’t complain, we are blessed in Thurrock with some wonderful sports coaches, whether it is youth football at Nutberry or the Firemans, youth cricket at Belhus, minis rugby at Oakfield or hockey at Palmers, we love and appreciate all that these sports clubs do for our young people. As Bill the Hathaway Road lollipop man told me the other day "Martin, there aren’t that many youngsters involved in sport who ever get into trouble". True Bill and we all know that.

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