NIALL SCULLY – 06 AUGUST 2013 02:30 PM
FOR David Curtin, the sky will always be blue. But there’s also a dash of black and amber in the mix.
His Dad, Maurice, is from Kilkenny. An O’Loughlin Gaels man. David has fond memories of going to watch the Cats.
“I went to a lot of the Kilkenny games with my father. He introduced me to hurling. DJ Carey and Pat O’Neill were my idols then. And at Ballyboden, I thought that Brian Kelleher was a smashing bit of stuff,” judges David.
David has been a Boden boy and man. He was a central figure on the five-in-a-row side. “That was a great achievement, but unfortunately we lost our title last year.
“It’s going to be tough to win it back. But things are going well. The Dublin and Leinster leagues have kept us going. The games were coming thick and fast.
“It’s pretty quiet at the moment. We are all looking forward to the county championship starting up again.
“It was a boost to win the Leinster League. It’s a prestigious competition. It also saves you going looking for challenge matches.
“Everybody wants to be playing games. It can be hard enough without your county players. I only discovered that for the first time this season. But other lads are then getting the opportunity.”
David spent 11 seasons with Dublin. He had the honour of being captain.
“We had some decent days. I was lucky enough to win the National League in 2011.
“We had a lot of ups and downs. I was involved in two losing Leinster finals. It was marvellous to see the current team win Leinster this summer.
“They did it the hard way. Those lads deserved it after all the work they have been putting in over the last few years.
“And they have been playing superb hurling. They have made a terrific recovery from the disappointment of last season.
“I saw the league matches and the first championship clash with Wexford. I thought the team was a bit unsettled. You had Conal (Keaney) at centre half-back and Liam (Rushe) at wing-back.
“But since they have found their settled team, they have really come on in leaps and bounds.
“The half-backs are playing tremendous stuff, and the midfield as well. Players are not just booming the ball anywhere.
“The passes are finding John (McCaffrey) and Joey (Boland) and they are putting brilliant ball in front of Dotsy (O’Callaghan), Paul Ryan and David Treacy, who are then causing damage.
“They are playing to a solid system at the moment. They are playing with confidence. It’s lovely to see. Hopefully now it will continue on Sunday.”
He says it might come down to a bounce of the sliotar. He has been impressed with Cork.
“Cork are a fine side. Anthony Nash is doing well in goal. Shane O’Neill is in fabulous form at the back. Seamus Harnedy has been a big find. Nobody had heard of him until this season. He is causing defences problems.
“Like Dublin, Cork have potent forwards in Conor Lehane, Luke O’Farrell and Patrick Horgan.
“I feel whoever wins the half-back line will go a long way to getting to the All-Ireland final. That will cut out the supply to either forward line. If any team manages that, they will come out on top.”
David had to battle hard himself to reach the top. He’s an example to all sports people that with the right attitude you can out-jump hardship.
He was born with haemophilia, a blood disorder. That means a knock that causes a person to bleed can be very serious.
He was told by the medics on so many occasions to hang up the hurl. But not by the man from O’Loughlin Gaels.
“It was just a case of getting on with it,” explains David. “I got used to it from a young age and I learned how to live with it. I take my injection before games to keep the blood levels up, so if you do get a belt, you wouldn’t bleed as much. And thank God I’m in the best of health”
When he retired from the Dublin shirt, David said he’d devote more time to the Irish Haemophilia Society.
Last June, in a sponsored cycle from Malin to Mizen, David and his fellow cyclists raised over €33,000 for the charity.
They’ll present the cheque in a couple of weeks. “It was fabulous. The sum is way above what we thought we’d get. The clubs of Dublin were very helpful. We appreciate it.”
On the cycle was his Dublin colleague, Shane Ryan. Shane claimed the yellow jersey on many of the stages. Shane is now away on holiday. He’ll be searching for a television on Sunday.
David will be in Croke Park. “It was a bit weird going to the Dublin games in the first year. It was hard watching when you were so used to having been out there.
“This will be a long week for the lads. They’ll probably put in one tough session and then ease off coming up to the weekend, making sure the bodies are right.
“The waiting will be the hard bit. The lads will be mad keen for the throw-in time to come. But the build-up should be enjoyed as well. It’s not every day you are in the All-Ireland semi-final.
“But it’s also important to stay away from the limelight and get yourself right. But they are used to that routine now, and it won’t be a bother. They have played in lots of big matches before.”
Running out to a blue chorus would be a tonic. “No doubt about it. A big Dublin support does lift you as a player. It’s such a boost to see the Dubs up on the Hill and all around the stadium.
“Fair play to Michael O’Grady and the Friends of Dublin Hurling for all their work in promoting the game. Michael is first-class.
“It was encouraging to see so many Dublin followers at the Leinster final. And hopefully there will be even more now. These fellas deserve it for all their efforts, and the results they have got.”
When Sunday dawns, the presence of Anthony Daly will soothe worried minds. “Dalo is a gas man. What you see is what you get. He lives and breathes hurling. He wears his heart on his sleeve.
“Himself and Jimmy Barry-Murphy are two such iconic figures. They’ll have their teams well primed, that’s for sure.
“Both teams have been in semi-finals before – Cork last year and Dublin in 2011. I think it has the makings of a super semi-final.
“It could be very close. It’s a hard one to call. Seeing Dublin get to the All-Ireland semi-final has raised people’s spirits.”
Come Sunday, they’ll be marching down from Marino … and Ballyfermot too, and they’ll all happily be joined by the Boden Boy in Blue.