Well I half-expected some sort of surprise prior to my departure from Crusaders. I didn’t expect it quite so soon though. At the end of the regular session yesterday morning my javelin group for the morning wandered off for what I assumed was to form teams for the usual 4 x 100m relay. It seemed to be taking some time but I wasn’t taking any particular notice, when Jim O’Neill came over to me and ushered me towards the large group of young athletes, parents and coaches. And the penny dropped.

A very nice speech from Moira and I was presented with a bottle of wine (already gone, very nice) and a bottle of champagne (to await a special occasion). And much more importantly a card signed by everyone – and there are some beautiful comments there. And finally a photo montage of our young Crusaders taken over the last 12 months since we started up. I’ll keep and treasure these things.

Caught somewhat on the hop I’m sure my speech contained all the wrong things and none of the right things. But I’ll wrap up my thoughts properly in a couple of weeks once I’ve gone. And then it was back to the throwers on an idyllic Dublin day and it was gone 1pm when we finally packed up. That’s where I really like to be, out amongst the young athletes helping them to improve where I can.

As Moya said afterwards, the new youngsters must think Crusaders is a great place – sunshine all the way and a party with crisps and pop afterwards!

This morning I plodded 13.7 miles down along Dublin Bay on another sunny day, for 30.9 on the week. Slow as usual though, 2:24. I’d have struggled to break two hours in Blarney today even in race mode, and my PB of 1:50 is far away right now.

A dagger through all Birmingham City fans’ hearts this lunchtime as the Villa nab the winner in the 85th minute. But the Rebelettes are edging Kilkenny at half-time in the camogie and five-in-a-row might cheer me up slightly.

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