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Pictured is All-Ireland winning Dublin and Ballyboden St Enda's footballer Michael Darragh Macauley ahead of AIB’s The Toughest Summer, a documentary which tells the story of Summer 2020 which saw an unprecedented halt to Gaelic Games.
Pictured is All-Ireland winning Dublin and Ballyboden St Enda's footballer Michael Darragh Macauley ahead of AIB’s The Toughest Summer, a documentary which tells the story of Summer 2020 which saw an unprecedented halt to Gaelic Games.

MacAuley enjoying club focus


By Cian O'Connell

Despite these deeply uncertain times Michael Darragh MacAuley has remained focused.

The importance of sport has been illustrated in recent months with Gaelic Football providing a most welcome release.

Ballyboden St Enda's talisman MacAuley is simply enjoying being involved in the action currently.

“It’s quite easy to be focused because it’s probably taken the inter-county thing out of your hands at the moment," MacAuley says.

"It makes the focus a little bit easier. You just have club and a little bit of a simpler life in that regard.

"That doesn’t mean you’re working any less hard. I can only speak from Ballyboden’s point of view but Ballyboden train as well and as hard as Dublin do and as often as well so I think it’s a very similar ilk.

"It’s been nice in that regard. We’re normally balancing so many balls, but we’re only shooting one ball at the moment."

That sense of purpose is helpful with MacAuley acknowledging the simple pleasure of playing matches.

"Yeah I think it has to be honest with you," MacAuley replies when asked about whether the lockdown enforced break afforded a greater desire for the game. I think it was just, we were the same as everyone else, the same as yourselves, there was a while there during March-April, it was very hard to see us playing any ball again.

"I suppose to be kicking ball, what we're doing at the moment, spectators or not, it is enjoyable. I suppose with the odd case breaking out here and there, I went out to play a dead rubber game against Whitheall Colmcille last week and just went out to enjoy the game because I didn't know when my next one was going to be."

Michael Darragh MacAuley in Dublin SFC action for Ballyboden St Enda's last month.
Michael Darragh MacAuley in Dublin SFC action for Ballyboden St Enda's last month.

Was MacAuley surprised that Jack McCaffrey opted to take time away from the inter-county arena?

"I suppose it's tough for any player to walk away, that wasn't easy for Jack, I know that," MacAuley states.

"But he's happy with his decision at the moment and it suits him. From Dublin point of view, we'll definitely miss Jack's psychopathic smile on game day and people are aware he's a big presence in the dressing room.

"I suppose we haven't even got to feel the loss of that yet because we haven't been back in the dressing room since, but I think it's an interesting one.

"Sometimes the grass isn't always greener when you're winning matches and playing football. I'm sure it's going to work out well for him."

Through his work with the Dublin North East Inner City initiative MacAuley is encouraged that innovative programmes are being rolled out once more.

"When we were thinking about it and the youth in the area and life in general the older folk and the cocooners had a tougher deal than anyone," MacAuley remarks.

"That’s what we were worried about particularly around the north inner city. What we came up with was on a Wednesday we have a fella coming in and playing a few songs and does a bit of bingo and the HSE are involved and it’s all very well regulated.

"On a Friday, I come in and do some yoga with them and it’s just to get them out of their houses. We started this in April and there was people when they coming out the first time saying, ‘I haven’t come out of my house in months’ and they literally hadn’t seen fresh air so it was mad.

"It’s become really enjoyable, it’s something I look forward to doing. We go around to four or five retirement spots around the area and get people out of the house for an hour or so and it just gives them something to do and have a bit of craic. It’s as much about the exercise as it is about the banter."

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