Global travel takes a heavy toll but Newry club journeys on into the future
There are two words in the dictionary calculated to send a shiver down the spine of most managers irrespective of what level at which they operate and those words are 'global travel'.
No team, it would appear, is immune to this phenomenon. Even the most successful sides can suddenly be shorn of stellar talent as players embark on new adventures, preferring at best to put their GAA futures on hold or at worst calling time prematurely on their careers.
The Thomas Davis club in Newry is one outfit that has been hauled back from the cliff edge in dramatic fashion following the defection of seven players to various parts of the world in the wake of the defeat to Ballyhegan in the 2017 Armagh junior championship final.
This, too, on the back of a similar exodus four years ago when joint captains David Lineghan and James Dinsmore were among those who sought pastures new.
But a steely determination to keep the GAA flag flying and a robust ambition to enhance the image of the club have suddenly spawned fresh optimism.
Not only are Thomas Davis preparing to put their best foot forward in Division Three of the Armagh All-County League, with Karl Kimmins in the role of new manager and Turlough Kane and David Murphy having assumed leadership on the field of play, but the club is in the process of forming a new ladies team.
Adrian McCourt is among those who have toiled at the coal face within the club for more years than he might care to remember yet remains convinced that there are brighter days ahead.
"Young people nowadays embrace the challenge of travel enthusiastically and you certainly can't stand in their way," says McCourt.
"Our club traded under the name Thomas Davis Corrinshego before we moved into our new complex in Newry some time ago so we are now seen as a Down club playing in the Armagh league. That maybe makes us a little different from other clubs but we are very keen to become as strong as we can be."
"We had our inaugural meeting in relation to the formation of a ladies team the other night and we had twenty-three potential players there."
"This gives us great encouragement going forward as does the fact that we are getting new talent into our men's senior team. There is tremendous competition on all sporting fronts as you would imagine in Newry and we are prepared to establish our own niche."