“It’s Instilled In Us To Never Give Up” Says Ardfert’s John Dowling

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John Dowling, with girlfriend Ursella O'Keeffe  after the final whistle on Sunday in Portlaoise.

John Dowling, with girlfriend Ursula O’Keeffe after the final whistle on Sunday in Portlaoise.

ON SUNDAY, Ardfert beat the Ulster champions to make it to Croke Park to contest an All-Ireland final for the third time since 2006.

It’s been an incredible journey built on grit, determination and the steel this North Kerry dual club has become synonymous with.

Fresh from the aftermath of their one point victory against Ulster champions Warrenpoint, we caught up with a player who’ll be familiar to many sports fans.

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Last September, clubman John Dowling tore up his All-Ireland final ‘ticket’ before Kerry v Donegal in order to win €2,000 on behalf of AIB for Ardfert GAA.

The resulting video of John’s big decision went viral nationwide.

John spoke to us about viral videos and what makes Ardfert so special?

“People mention the video to me quite often still. On Sunday, the midfielder I was up against came over to me and said fair play for tearing the ticket up,” said the Mercy Mounthawk teacher.

“The second video AIB did really opened our eyes to how much the team means to the parish,” said John.

Will the cameras be returning to Ardfert in the next few weeks?

“The AIB were talking about doing another video alright, but there has been nothing confirmed. They might, we’ll have to see,” John said.

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John was part of the Ardfert team who have won back to back All-Ireland club titles within the last decade; first a junior in 2006 and an intermediate title in 2007.

Last year the AIB, who sponsor the All-Ireland club championships, ran an ad campaign to promote the competition with Colm Cooper. It was centred around the fact the Dr Crokes maestro is without an All-Ireland club medal in his career.

“I don’t know if I’d be in the category of the Gooch!” John laughed. “But I suppose after Valentine’s day I could have three All-Ireland club medals in my back pocket,” said John.

“We just have a special belief in ourselves, our management instills that in us. Everybody involved with the club does. It’s a community, not just the 20 or 25 players who are involved.”

“Because we’re traditionally a hurling club, people don’t give us the credit we deserve and we use that. We always say it among ourselves that we deserve success and that we don’t get the credit. We play with our backs to the wall and a chip on our shoulder,”  said John.

Next up on Ardfert’s hit-list is Mayo and Connacht champions, St Croans in the All-Ireland Intermediate final on Valentines Day in Croke Park.

“It’s not that we’re cocky or over confident. We believe if we play to our ability we can beat any team, no matter who they are. It’s instilled in us to never to give up. That’s our calling card, the only way you can beat us is if you’re in the dressing room with the cup,” he said.

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