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05 Jul 2022

Inside Track: Flags are flying high in our neck of the woods

Inside Track: Flags are flying high in our neck of the woods

Bellurgan United U15 players parade their SFAI Under-15 National Cup at half-time of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division match between Dundalk and St Patrick's Athletic

We like to fly our flags out around Bellurgan and in adjoining areas. They’ve been hung out in all shapes and sizes over the years, and the colours haven’t always been the same.

Most, but not all, have been sports-related; support for the besieged people of Ukraine has manifested itself with a display of blue-and-yellow in recent times.

The first major show of colour came when St Patrick’s reached their first Louth senior final of this century. The green-and-white hung high before the game with St Mary’s in 2003, and even higher when the Joe Ward Cup was taken home. It has been out many times since, all but once to herald a win.

In the spirit of sporting ecumenism, welcoming a famous win, St Pat’s strung a banner across the road outside of their Lordship clubrooms to acclaim the mighty part Rob Kearney played in Ireland winning its first rugby Grand Slam in 61 years. That was in 2009.

There have been a few what you might call interlopers. We can always expect to see the yellow-and-purple coming out whenever Wexford get a run going in the hurling championship, and when either Tyrone or Armagh are going anyway well in Ulster and further afield, some decampers can be expected to show their loyalty.

Something rare but wonderful happened in 2017 – Dundalk Gaels reached the 2017 county final. And to celebrate the achievement, a house in Bellurgan Point – where often a Pat’s flag had flown from the top window – was this time adorned by blue-and-white. Your writer was responsible, but was then left to explain in print when the result didn’t go the town team’s way.

Yet a third differently-coloured flag flew from the same window last year, this one – the Tricolour – a tribute to Eve McCrystal, following the Jenkinstown girl’s Paralympics heroics in Rio de Janeiro in the company of Katie George-Dunlevy.

It’s been all black-and-red over the past few weeks, first in anticipation and then in celebration. Bellurgan under-15s were superb in bringing home the SFAI National Cup last Sunday week, the first time a Dundalk Schoolboys’ League team had lifted this prestigious title.

St Kevin’s Boys, representing a renowned Dublin academy, which has turned out many players who graduated to significant senior careers, were in opposition, and were doughty opponents: but Bellurgan had all the answers and were full value for their 3-2 win.

Among those who were quick to congratulate the new kids on the block were three who have had flags hoisted for them in the past, McCrystal, Kearney and seven-times Joe Ward Cup winner, Paddy Keenan.

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