Ballyboden's Michael Darragh Macauley. Oisin Keniry/INPHO

'You just don't know, in life and sport, what's going to happen next' - Macauley

The Ballyboden St Enda’s midfielder paid tribute to his late team-mate Dermot Manley after yesterday’s Leinster semi-final win over Garrycastle.

BALLYBODEN’S PROGRESSION TO the Leinster club SFC final was tinged with sadness as star man Michael Darragh Macauley reflected on a difficult 10 days for the club.

The Dublin champions saw off Garrycastle by 11 points in TEG Cusack Park on Sunday afternoon, but following the final whistle, Macauley’s thoughts immediately turned to his former team-mate Dermot ‘Digger’ Manley who passed away recently. 

“What was on my mind more than anything today was the loss of Dermot Manley,” the Dublin midfielder told RTE Radio 1.

“We lost ‘Digger’ last week and nothing is going to be the same again. We’re looking at everything differently.

“You just don’t know, in life and in sport, what’s going to happen next.

“Dermot was an unbelievable human. He played with this team, was on championship-winning teams with this club.

“He was one of the best humans I ever met and if we had a few more like him, the world would be a better place.”

The last time the south side club progressed from Dublin they went on to lift provincial and All-Ireland titles. Macauley believes the current squad are as strong as the all-conquering outfit of 2015/16. 

“Ballyboden will probably always put out a strong 15 and has done so for the last 10 years,” he said.

“What we haven’t had is a strong 20 or 25 to push lads in training. This is the probably the strongest we’ve had it, even since 2015-16. There’s a serious group of lads there.”

Excitement levels will ramp up ahead of Sunday week’s Leinster final against Carlow champions Éire Óg.

“Momentum builds, people get behind it, flags start going up in Rathfarnham, Knocklyon and people in the shops start talking about it.

“It gets that lovely buzz about the place,” Macauley added.

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