Ah the beautiful game.
Some parkrun events take place in national parks. Some have spectacular river or sea views but the heart of every event is its community ethos. Brickfields is literally in the very heart of the Drimnagh community. For that reason I was intrigued to make a debut visit to this event.
Well, there were other reasons why I was curious to visit but that requires an apology and an explanation. So, I’m sorry that I hadn’t visited before yesterday’s match (event) number 71. In a previous life I was quite familiar with Brickfields. As both a former footballer and a soccer referee this place was quite a regular haunt for me.
I’m laying it in the line here. I’d no expectation of a pretty setting at all. Wrong. You see, my memory of the park is of a mini Hackney Marshes, for those of you familiar with football venues and parlance. Yes, there are football pitches occupying the bulk of the park but what my former self failed to observe was the mature tree lined perimeter pathway enclosed within the walled railings that is the parkrun route. That’s a yellow card for me then. Set in this neighbourhood Dublin 12 oasis it really is a Theatre of Dreams.
I like to show up at the ground early to soak up the atmosphere. Kudos to the park rangers who were busily tidying the ground for the day’s activities ahead when I arrived. Well done Dublin City Council. Soon after the parkrun volunteers assembled to put the final touches to the pitch surface.
While football is a game of two halves this event is split in to quarters. I’ve no problem with 4 laps of this stadium even if Maria Gaughan today’s team captain, sorry Run Director, doubted the players (parkrunners) capacity to keep score and suggested we might like to raise our arm in celebration after each lap. That would be a 4-0 win then. Today’s nervy 56 players were put at ease with the reassuring pre match pep talk from Maria. Thank you. And just like that the game started and we were playing from left to right.
The man-of-the-match was awarded to Alex Rooney, a mere apprentice in the JM10 acadamy, yet he was receiving his 10th cap today. In keeping with the best parkrun traditions Alex brought the cake for his teammates to celebrate the milestone. The only caveat he said was that we must wait until he returned before eating it. We didn’t have time to pour the Bovril as Alex returned to the dugout in a great time of 41:55. Give that lad a contract.
When the final whistle blew the post match analysis was conducted under the multi coloured bunting at the goal line. It rivalled the Kop for the vibe. In a nice touch the home team provided refreshments in reusable containers. As you do at parkrun you make new friends whether you like it or not. But today I bumped in to an old friend. As you do. We’d toured as part of a football team at World Cup USA 1994. Lovely to see you again Fionnuala MARCHING ON TOGETHER. We must team up again.
In all there were 6 rookies (first timers) today and 15 played their best game (personal bests) yet.
The event was made possible by 10 volunteers. They played a 4-5-1 formation. Here’s how they lined out:
St John WALSH • Maria GAUGHAN • Lorraine MITCHELL • Jan MACEK • Ciarán MCCARTHY • Joan STAPLETON • Jp LONERGAN • Fiona ROONEY • Craig ROONEY • Colm HOGAN
Full scores, tables and a complete event history can be found on the Brickfields parkrun Results Page.
Brickfields can be rightfully proud of its home ground. They’ve a great happy squad of volunteers as we witnessed this week. Clearly the Head Coach Lorraine’s enthusiasm is infectious in their dressing room.
The male record is held by Noel CARROLL who recorded a time of 17:23 on 11th August 2018 (event number 30).
The female record is held by Rhiannon KIRK who recorded a time of 19:19 on 6th October 2018 (event number 38).
The Age Grade course record is held by Ann WOODLOCK who recorded 84.51% (31:32) on 15th December 2018 (event number 48).
Brickfields parkrun started on 6th January 2018. Since then a squad of 1,510 have assembled, a total turnstile attendance of 5,736 parkruns covering ground of 28,680 km, including 1,243 new Personal Bests. A total of 176 individuals have volunteered 732 times.
I can now safely say I’ve covered every blade of grass and every corner of Brickfields. My eyes have been opened (referees are blind you see) to this fantastic arena. Thanks to the great team it’s guaranteed that YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE here. I’ll be back before too long and might even get a season ticket.
Niall Coppinger A453613