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20th Jan 2017

#TheToughest: Does it mean more to win with your club or county?

If you had to choose...

Conan Doherty

It starts with club and it ends with club.

It peaks with county though.

Over 80,000 people come to watch you in the All-Ireland final. A million watch you on RTÉ alone. It’s the top of the sport and it’s probably where you drew your inspiration from as a kid.

You probably grew up wanting to get to Croke Park with your county jersey on, running your own commentary in the back yard in which you were playing the role of heroes gone by.

Some day, that’ll be you.

But when you go away with the county, you miss the club. You miss your best friends, the craic, the local grounds.

You miss the jaunt down to training, a stone’s throw away, and you miss the endless kicking around afterwards with no other plans or worries. With the club, it’s all about the journey.

When you grow up, when you venture further, you get this sense of pride that you never had before – a contentment of where you’re from and your sense of belonging to that place.

When you grow up, you realise more and more just how important the club was in shaping the person you are today – not just the sportsperson.

Imagine you could conquer the county with your club. Imagine you could conquer the whole country with your small community.

Imagine doing it with the people you’ve been playing with since you were six years of age.


But then to touch Sam – that is the holy grail after all.

That’s what everyone in the world tunes in to watch and, God if you did it, you couldn’t go any farther. You’d have literally reached the top.

You’d have completed that dream that made you first pick up a football or a hurley in the first place. Your name would ring around the country. You’d be a role model. Someone else’s inspiration.

But, really though, it’s all about the club. Right?