THERE’S a picture of Colm O’Driscoll sitting on a shelf in Donie O’Donovan’s kitchen.
He sees it every morning and evening.
It has nothing to do with Sunday’s West Cork JAFC final, however. But, given Donie and his family’s association with the GAA, it’s origins are football related.
‘My wife Mary is a Caheragh woman,’ the 36-year-old defender explains.
‘She’s immersed in all things Kilmacabea now and, to be honest, I wouldn’t be playing football if she wasn’t backing me at home.
‘She played football with Caheragh and they won a county junior C title a few years ago. There’s a picture up in our kitchen of that team and Colm O’Driscoll is in it. He was a selector on that team, so we have a picture of Colm O’Driscoll up at home.’
Donie hasn’t been tempted to put the picture face down this week because he’ll see enough of O’Driscoll and Caheragh this Sunday.
‘It’s still there,’ he laughs, as he takes a break from farming for a quick chat ahead of the big game.
But this week has already been a special one – his oldest son Tadhg (5) started national school on Wednesday. That’s a day Donie will never forget, and the father of three – there’s also Evan (3) and 11-week-old Rena – wants to make it a memorable week by adding a ‘hard’ West Cork title.
‘Some people said during the year that we had won an easy West Cork last year, but they wouldn’t be able to say the same if we win on Sunday against one of the big clubs in junior football,’ the experienced Donie explains.
‘When I started playing first, Ilen Rovers, Carbery Rangers and Caheragh were the three top teams in West Cork, they were a cut above the rest and if you were drawn against any of them in the first round, it was goodnight Irene.
‘Ilen and Ross moved on but while Caheragh didn’t make the breakthrough they still remained one of the strong teams.
‘They are still one of the teams at the start of every year that you watch out for. You expect them to be there or thereabouts, so if we can beat them after beating a good Castlehaven team with Brian Hurley in it, a Kilbrittain team that were in last year’s final and a good St James’ side, then no one can say this was an easy West Cork.’
Donie will be the oldest starting player in the Kilmacabea line-up. He’s hugely experienced. He made his debut as a sub against Carbery Rangers in 1999.
‘They had their current chairman Tim Murphy on that team so that shows how long ago we’re talking about,’ he laughs.
Since then he has been involved, and since 2003 Donie has played every championship match with Kilmacabea. That’s some record. And he’s not slowing down. Last year’s breakthrough West Cork triumph has stoked the fires.
‘Now that we have made the breakthrough we want more,’ says Donie whose brother Ciarán is still involved while Eoin stepped back this year.
‘Numbers at training have grown off the back of last year.’
Everything is geared towards winning a second West Cork title in a row, and Donie feels they’re in good shape, a different prospect one year on from their first divisional win.
‘We have Daniel O’Donovan back and he is a big player for us. Ian Jennings is coming through, Damien Gore is a year older and wiser, there are other young lads coming through. We’re in good shape,’ he says, and he knows they have to be against Caheragh.
This is the final neutrals want to see, he says. And if it all goes well, he won’t mind looking at Colm O’Driscoll’s face in the picture next week. It will be a reminder of another great day.