Former Player and current underage caoch Robbie McCrave reflects on his playing days
First memory of Club -
I do remember wandering down Park street towards the Magnet gates not sure what to expect , Joe McNally arrived then came the two Tony’s, Coleman and McDonnell
Biggest Influence -
I must give a shout out to a fair few here, my parents I remember getting my first pair of boots Blackthorn with a hard toe as a birthday present, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to wear them out on the street when I went out to play .
It started for me in Primary school Mickey Lambert, Tom Quinn, Pat McCann and the smiling Tom Kindlon RIP they made it fun and encouraged all the time. I still remember Mickey saying if you have any talent and can play then you can play in any position just go out and try and do your best.
Secondary school , Pat Darcy, and Paddy Hamill they put the pieces in place so eventually we could compete at the highest level in school football in Ireland. It took 4/5 years planning training at lunch times and on Saturday mornings and friendlies all around the Country I have 2 north Leinster leagues medals a Lennon cup and a Leinster school victory very special.
Mickey Matthews and Terry Doherty gave me my Gaels debut in Knockbridge verus the Clans in the Junior League we won I think, no home pitch and playing in division 3 against the Clans second Team we have come along way since then.
Then comes Danny and Gene who took over and brought it on to higher levels with the influx of a lot of talented young players Danny made me the captain after a few years and put me into the no 6 jersey that was an honour.
You can be inspired and energised even when you are in your mid Thirties, so Paul Lynch and JP OKane deserve a shout out. I played in an all-Ireland SEMI Final in 1985 with the school and then again in 2003/4 with the Gaels another honour.
Curved ball here I must mention Jimmy Clancy I played a lot of Soccer in my teens went to 3 milk cups and was involved with Dundalk youth teams he was very encouraging .
Worst Trainer -
Don’t have a worst trainer .
Best trainer -
I started playing at 17 and stopped playing at 41 so I have different stages .
First my Brother Andrew he brought the training and effort needed to compete to another level he set the bar higher for his peers , he was vital at that stage for me and the team an inspiration really.
Second , I used to partner up with Harvs Martin Harvey as he matured, he trained extremely hard and aggressively and I latched on to him he extended my playing career by 5/6 years a great guy. Niall McCabe deserves a mention both lads have taken up Triathlon and Cycling since retirement and are very competitive.
Finally, the last bunch , Jamie ,Derek , Errol, David and Ginto the lads trained very hard improving their strength and skills I hope I set them a good example when they arrived on the scene.
Funniest Teammate -
Liam Maca was constantly slagging and joking , Glen woods was deadly with the one liners and If Eddie Coleman arrived to training then you were guaranteed some laughs.
Favourite pitch -
The Gaels great memories and happy times playing and training in the Ramparts.
Most Memorable win -
Looking back I was lucky I think I have won 11/12 adult trophies with the Gaels and some historic wins at school. I will pick the Junior Final Gaels v Huntertown in 86 I was corner forward and scored a point it was the start of an upward curve for the club , must mention the school college final in 85 .Also I remember playing the Blues in Drogheda one Friday evening, Danny was the manager around 1990. I always felt it was a very important win for the club it felt like we could compete with anyone from then on.
Favourite Sportsperson -
Probably go with Maradona considering he came from the slums really amazing what he achieved, and his natural ability was incredible .
Your having a dinner party, Three People you'd invite -
My Uncle Thomas he was my Mum Brother and he died in the early 1960 before I was born it would have been nice to meet him and chat. My grandfather Jim McCrave he took a great interest in Andrew and myself in the early years , it would be nice to say it was a good sporting journey .Johann Cruyff I remember watching the World cup in 1974 and 1978 and the Dutch caught my imagination the orange shirts long hair and the goals they scored very exciting.