FINAL COUNTDOWN: A Die-Hard Dub’s Week Behind Enemy Lines

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THROUGHOUT the year, they walk among us, but in the lead up to an All-Ireland final against Dublin, the presence of those neighbours who’ve swapped City life for the Kingdom is more keenly felt.

Marcus Howlett, is well known to the running fraternity in Tralee, having set up the ‘Run the Kingdom’ company. His love for the Blues, stems from the days of ‘Heffo’s Army’ in the 70s,  when Marcus’ father took him on the Hill as a young boy.

Marcus Howlett, in the IT Tralee North Campus wearing the colours with pride. Photo by Gavin O'Connor.

Marcus Howlett, in the IT Tralee North Campus wearing the colours with pride. Photo by Gavin O’Connor.

“If you win an All-Ireland beating Kerry, the satisfaction of the win is multiplied three or four times,” he told us.

The former native of, Blanchardstown, in West Dublin, worked with Tote Racing travelling around the country. Taking redundancy, he decided to take on a new challenge which brought Marcus to IT Tralee to study Adventure Tourism in 2009.

“My own interest in general, came from going to Hill 16. When I was eight in 1976, my Father brought me on the Hill. A lot of the Dublin fans were influenced by what they saw on Match of the Day and they brought that (atmosphere] to Hill 16,” said Marcus.

“Living in Kerry, the rivalry has become more intense because there’s nothing better than beating Kerry in an All-Ireland final. No disrespect to the other teams. People of my generation grew up with the rivalry of the 70’s and 80’s, we’d probably know the Kerry players from that era better than the ones we know now.”

“When I walk around the college here I see Ogie Moran. I remember watching him as a kid in Croke Park. So when I see him now, I say to him ‘I remember when I used to stand on the Hill and call you all sorts of things, now I say hello!'”

Despite being behind enemy lines, Marcus is not holding back with his prediction of how it will go.

“If Dublin are going to win they’re going to win well, if Kerry win, it will be by a couple of points. I can’t see us just winning by one or two points and if it comes down to the last few minutes, Kerry will do it. But I got a feeling the game could be out of sight by the last ten minutes with Dublin ahead.”

“I’ve said to the [Born To Run] group, if Dublin do get beaten I’ll have them running up hills all week!”

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