Kilkerley Emmets' Cormac, Cathal, Ciarán and James Bellew at their club's base ahead of Sunday's CTI Business Solutions IFC final against Mattock Rangers. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
If and when the time comes for Seamus Bellew to release his autobiography your writer will be offering his services. God knows, his sons have given enough information for its scripture. The Kilkerley man’s ears must have scorch marks.
We - The Democrat and the four Bellew brothers, Cormac (29), Cathal (28), Ciarán (25) and James (21) - sit in a back dressing room at Emmets’ clubrooms. There has clearly been a fresh coat of blue and yellow - colours the same as the bunting which drapes from every stanchion that can be found around the area - painted on to the walls. The Democrat even had to swerve to avoid hitting a clubman up a ladder on the road in.
One doesn’t think it was Seamus who’d climbed the steps. Ciarán says “the pitch is his baby” more so.
Funny Ciarán is mentioned…
Democrat: “You, Ciarán, don’t strike me as someone who would stand back if there was a row, or someone did something to one of the others.”
Cormac: “I think me and Cathal can take the credit for that.”
Cathal: “We used to sort of train him when he was younger to teach him to stand up for himself. A human punch bag.”
Ciarán: “I’ll never forget one year we played the O’Connell’s. David Fedigan gave me a straight red and him (Cormac) a straight red.”
Cathal: “I was away and Dad would always give me updates of the game and… what happened?”
Ciarán: “Ah, there was a bit of a ruckus and he jumped in. The two of us jumped in.”
Cathal: “Really proud lads, aren’t they!”
Ciarán: “I haven’t got a red card this year, or a booking. A changed man.”
Democrat: “How does Seamus react to this?”
Ciarán: “What the f**k were you at out there?”
James: “You have to stand up for your brothers, though.”
Ciarán: “Dad’s the type of person that if you’d a bad game, be it championship or league, you’d come home to the house with the head buried in the ground and him waiting for you.
“He’d be waiting for you at the table and you’d just know he’d have something to say.
“You try to walk past him, but you just can’t.”
“The first question is…”
Cormac: “What were you at out there?”
Ciarán: “‘You were terrible.’”
Cormac: “‘You were crap.’”
There is a brief stoppage, as the door opens. It’s Andrew McGuill.
“What the f**k is going on in here,” he says, “it’s the first time you’ve ever been early for training!”
Cue widespread giggling, before McGuill slips away. Where were we? Yeah, discussing Seamus Bellew...
Ciarán: “He then just dissects the game: this is what you’re doing wrong, this is what you can do better.”
Cathal: “I think that’s every household, though.”
Democrat: “So it’s not just about trying to win every game, it’s about gaining paternal affection, too?”
Cathal: “After every training session it’s the exact same. We actually have a game on the way back, he’ll be sitting on the couch and we’ll guess the first question he’s going to ask.”
Cormac: “Was there many there…?”
Ciarán: If I can tell you something to add into your piece. We were playing Louth Village (St. Mochta’s) minor and…”
Cormac: “Ah, you’re not going back this far.”
Ciarán: “I’m gonna dig deep… Dad was our manager and Kevin Rogers was playing with us at the time, because we were amalgamated with the Malachi’s.
“Someone was kicking him and the ref wasn’t doing anything about it. Dad decided to step in and give out to the referee in a manner that wasn’t… acceptable.”
Democrat: “He was getting his point across, was he?”
Ciarán: “Dad got a straight red on the line and the ref said that he had to leave the pitch. So Dad walked two miles an hour down the sideline, took about 10 minutes to get off the field and that… was the most embarrassing moment of my life!”
Cormac: “Is this gonna be a ‘slate my Dad interview’.”
Cathal: “Work away the f**k.”
Seamus, of course, is the proprietor of Bellew Roof Cladding, which got quite a bit of free advertising through the conversation… Their granduncle Owenie, “a great clubman”, also gets a favourable mention. “He’s 89 and still going strong,” says Ciarán.
Cathal: “Do you wanna hear a story about the four of us, which is nothing got to do with football?”
Democrat: “Gowan ahead.”
Cathal: “It’s to do with Dad again.”
Democrat: “This is free advertising for him.”
Cathal: “‘Bellew Roof Cladding! (roared at the top of his voice)
“I’d say, Cormac, you must have been 10 or 11, obviously we were younger. We were playing football out the front of the house and just kicking the ball about.
“All of a sudden you just hear a big ‘kuussshhhh’, window broke. That’s Dad’s cue to come out.
“Cormac was sort of leading the way, we were running up the fields trying to get away from him. He caught James first, then Ciarán, caught me and he couldn’t catch Cormac, so Cormac didn’t come home for another four or five hours.”
Democrat: “Where did this end up?”
Cormac: “With a vase to the head for me!”
Cathal: “No, you can’t be saying that. No, no, it didn’t end up with anything. He just shouted at you…”
Democrat: “Gimme another story.”
Ciarán: “Mam and Dad headed to France for a week one time, which they normally do. It was a house party for us so, so one of the nights we got a few bottles and got really drunk. I passed out on top of my duvet on the bed.”
Democrat: “What age were you?”
James: “He was over 18 (said hastily...).”
Ciarán: “I was over 18 (said hastily...).”
“Anyway, I was on top of the covers and four lads, these two (Cormac and Cathal) and some of the neighbours, decided to lift each corner of the duvet, lift me down the stairs, out the back door, down the road to the neighbour’s house and put me in his driveway.
“His father was coming home from a shift in the lorry and as he was pulling into the driveway there I was, fast asleep on top of my cover.”
Cathal: “We were playing a school game against Knockbridge one day. I got a red card and I gave your name (Cormac) because I was playing a league match the next day…
Democrat: “Can suspensions carry over to Sunday?”
Cathal: “Maybe you shouldn’t put that one in then!”
Democrat: “We’ll leave it there.”
Cathal: “Anything you want to get off your chest, lads?”
Ciarán: “Just a shout out for Bellew Roof Cladding there…
“Mention as well our Mam who’s deadly at having food for us before games.”
Cathal: “What do you think this is?”
Ciarán: “All I want to do is give Mam a bit of praise.”
Democrat: “All the sponsors, sure why not.”
Cormac: “Johnny Quigley Oils and…”
Democrat: “CB, CB, CB (initials), how do you tell which gear is which.”
Ciarán: “Extra large (pointing at Cathal).”
Cathal: “Don’t start.”
Democrat: “He came home bigger, did he?”
Cathal: “I came home a bit chunkier, yeah.”
Democrat: “In all seriousness, though?”
Ciarán: “It’s first come first served for everything. There’s like three class pairs of socks and shorts, and like one ‘gammy’ pair.”
Cathal: “You need to get the gear ready early.”
Cormac: “It’s the same with the food, Mam doesn’t put it out on separate plates. It’s just put out in a big pot. First come, first served.
Ciarán: “There’d be times there at the dinner table where the fork is being used to eat the food and the knife is a shield. It’s a defence mechanism so none of the lads rob the last bit of chicken.”
Kilkerley were relegated from the senior grade last year, defeat to Geraldines in successive weeks condemning them to another season in Division Two and the intermediate championship for the first time since 2015.
Both Cormac and Ciarán rank those losses as the worst of their club careers.
But there is a reason for it.
Cormac: “Last year was a disaster and Cathal’s solely getting the blame for us getting relegated.”
Cathal: “I knew that was coming.”
The former Louth U21 star spent three years in Sydney. He left Kilkerley shortly after their Flood Cup win, missing the years back among the elite, and landed home as this year’s tilt to get up got underway.
Cormac: “It feels the same, but back in 2015 we were playing with a lot of more mature lads, the likes of James Fagan and Fintan Clarke.
“This year we feel we’re the oldest here, with the grandfather, Shane (Lennon), and taking the likes of Ewan McEnteggart, Conor Quigley and the minor lads on.
“There is a great buzz in the club.”
Cathal: “I think it’s very important to set that culture for Kilkerley, especially if we’re going to have a good influx of young lads. You see what Louth Village have done getting up from the intermediate championship and this year getting up in the league, you’d want to replicate what they’ve done in that sense.
Ciarán: “When we won it back in 2015, for a few of the older lads that was their first time winning a championship medal. For the minors coming in now, straight into a championship final, hopefully it becomes a habit.”
Cathal: “Most people wouldn’t have put us as one of the teams (who could win it).”
Cormac: “Our path to the final, we’ve beaten three senior league clubs and another one is waiting in the final. You’re playing teams at the highest level of league football and we’ve shown that we have a team who could compete in senior football, it’s just a matter of doing it week in and week out.”
Cathal: “By the way, this is how Ciarán’s 2015 (celebrations) went: Went out on the Sunday, went out on the Monday, went out on the Tuesday, the Wednesday, he took the Thursday off and was in hospital on the Friday!”
Given there is only a front door where Ciarán and Cormac are concerned, with Cathal not lagging far behind, it’s understandable that James is the most understated of the four. A life is listening, perhaps…
The situation is different for him. A hugely talented basketball player, as well as a promising minor within Kilkerley, the former took precedence for a period, which didn’t lend itself to nailing down a starting place with Emmets.
James: “It took over my life, but I’ve found my priority now.
“I regret not giving it 100 percent, being in and out of other sports, holidays et al. But I feel that over the next year I can get my place if I work hard enough.
“You can’t fault any of the lads ahead of me, we’ve a brilliant team all over the pitch.”
Cathal: “Good man, Jamesy.”
Democrat: “I pulled a programme out of a box recently. The U21 Leinster final (2012, vs Dublin).”
Cathal: “I still have nightmares about Jack McCaffrey.”
Cormac: “Me and Dad were watching and you see Cathal running for a ball. ‘Yeah, he’s definitely gonna get it’. He’s five yards ahead and all of a sudden this steam train, Jack McCaffrey, comes flying past him.”
Cathal: “I’ve never run beside someone who was soloing the ball and as I was running was getting further away from me.”
Democrat: “Well, I wasn’t going to bring that up.”
(Cormac and Ciarán slag wildly.)
Democrat: “Who’s the most inclined to fight?”
Ciarán: “Cathal’s the thickest man in the house.”
Democrat: “Who’s he most inclined to fight with?”
Cormac: “This man here (Ciarán)...
“I think it was after the quarter-final, the next morning Ciarán went to get a Mace roll.
“The normal thing in the house is that if you go after a night out to get a Mace roll you have to ask the others… and he didn’t ask Cathal if he wanted one.
“Ciarán lands back with his Mace roll and Cathal comes in, hits his hand and knocks the roll everywhere. Ciarán goes mad and throws a bit of dirt all over Cathal’s car - the two boys are only after getting new cars - so Cathal goes and gets a bunch of eggs and throws them at Ciaran’s car.
Ciarán: “Mam had made a fresh carrot cake so I rubbed it on every window on Cathal’s car.
Cathal: “Paint that story pretty!”
James: “You just can’t look past Sunday. You can’t think of anything else but winning.”
Democrat: “Does that overegg it.”
Cathal: “We were told in 2015, which was great, to enjoy the build-up to it. You can be only focussing on the Sunday and that’s great, but let’s enjoy the buzz around the parish and embrace it.”
Cormac: “You don’t want to overthink it because there’s enough stuff going on outside football to keep you going. It’s great to be in the position.”
Democrat: “Do you do nerves.”
Cathal: “Pressure’s for tyres.”