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24 May 2022

Inside Track: Jim’s proud of his uncle and looking forward to more days at Oriel

Stadium & Facilities Redevelopment group set up to look into future of Oriel Park

Oriel Park in the sunshine. (Credit: Sportsfile)

It was good to see that the lines of communication with Inside Track and its most dedicated correspondent over the years, Jim McCourt, hadn’t broken down.

Word came through from Avondale Park last week, the message centered on Oriel and, not unexpectedly, the man whose name has appeared on this page almost as often as Jim’s, his uncle James McGinn.

Regular readers of IT – most of them, no doubt, have nothing better to do – will know by now that Dundalk-born McGinn was founder of the Ballygunner hurling club in Waterford that recently added an All-Ireland title to its many laurels.

Not by chance – it was their founder that chose them – their colours are a combination of the red of Louth and black of Dundalk and have the McGinn crest on their jersey.

Some further information provided by Jim in his most recent missive: Ballygunner play their home games at James McGinn Park, which was named before the honoured one had left this world in 1995. Jim believes this is a first, a living person being given such recognition while still alive.

He was down in Waterford with his late wife, Audrey, for one of the club’s celebrations, and got a great reception. The then-GAA President, Sean Kelly, was there, and Jim, not one to miss a trick, took the opportunity to see what Kelly could do about Croke Park being opened for soccer Internationals while Lansdowne Road was being developed. It happened, of course, and Jim says in his latest message, “Good man, Sean.”

Jim wasn’t among the 3,000-plus for the recent league match with Derry City. Like your writer, he has more years behind him than he has to look forward to – unless we are both around long enough to challenge Methuselah for having celebrated the most birthdays.

It was very cold that night, and instead Jim tuned into John Murphy, and enjoyed the game, though having led twice he thought Dundalk should have won.

An Oriel regular for over six decades, during which there were poor as well as good days, Jim has no plans to hand in his season ticket just yet. He feared last season might end in relegation and was concerned about how the club was being run by its then-owners.

He’s feeling better now and will be heading up the Carrick Road before long – he hasn’t been there since this was written.  

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