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Crokes building for the future
By Cian OConnell
Kilmacud Crokes AIB All-Ireland Club SFC success in 2009 remains etched in Andrew McGowans mind.
It was Crokes second national title, but as a youngster McGowan enjoyed watching how that particular team developed, illustrating what could be achieved.
How important is it for the next generation to witness silverware be gleaned? Massively, McGowan instant replies.
I think we do have a sizeable club, and I think that a tremendous amount of work went in to bringing people into the club. I also think what retained those people and kept those people from not changing to different sports as kids was that we saw the success of our past players.
I know after seeing the All-Ireland in 2009, as kids you dreamed of doing that. It would have held on to a lot of people - that it was possible to do it. That is what we hope we are doing right now. We've had some Leinster success, we've had three Dublins in the last three or four years.
We are hoping that the younger generation are seeing us, that they are seeing the success that can happen with this club. We are hoping that they will see what we saw, and hopefully stick around to stay with the Gaelic or the hurling for Kilmacud.
Remaining relevant on the Dublin, provincial, and national stages is critical. Another AIB All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final Croke Park encounter against Kerins ORahillys looms on Sunday. That is the goal, McGowan acknowledges.
Last year for us looking back it was 2018 when we won in Dublin, but if you put that aside it was 2010, I think, when we last won in Dublin. I think we got to the final in 2012, we lost.
Andrew McGowan continues to impress for Kilmacud Crokes.
Looking at the previous successes of Kilmacud, winning Leinsters and All-Irelands, what we would have seen as kids, and what we would have aspired to get, once 2018 came around, we just saw that open field of Leinster, that brought on to people that there is potential here.
Obviously then we didn't have a good couple of years, but after that it keeps progressing further. If we could do this every year it would be amazing because it is a really, really enjoyable journey to take with the lads. We would love to just keep it at this level for as long as we can.
That so many of the Crokes panel have sampled inter-county action at underage and senior level is a significant according to McGowan.
In the long term if you look at the team there is a number of people - I'd say the majority of the starting players would have hit a Dublin panel at some stage or a county panel at some stage, McGowan says.
I think the lessons that you learn at inter-county are extreme. The fact that you can take those learnings and bring them back, use them in club trainings has been huge for us with the likes of Cian O'Sullivan and Paul Mannion playing with us, bringing back their knowledge of what they have learned. Also that driving factor and accountability.
A nice blend of established and emerging players has been found. That is really good this year because with such a short time between the two championships you really see it in some of the lads, McGowan says.
We had three or four lads join the team last year when we were in the Leinster stage, they had been at minor. What they are doing now is that they are really driving on this year, they are putting themselves down for starting positions, not only to just come off the bench.
It is that kind of stuff that drives on lads who have already been there too. The fact that we have this young talent coming up, pushing everyone else on, it really pushes everyone to not ever feel you're comfortable in your position.
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