Football can be a divisive issue at the best of times.
This coming weekend, nowhere will this be more evident than in the Devine household as brothers Brendan and Paul prepare to line-out in Sunday’s County Senior Championship Final - for opposing teams.
Clonguish forward Brendan and Longford Slashers defender Paul have been doing their best to play down the scenario of a potential clash.
“It’s going to be strange alright, there’s no doubt about that,” said a cheerful Brendan earlier this week.
“I don’t even want to talk about the possibility of us marking each other. The funny thing is it’s all gone a bit quiet (at home) now. Usually you would talk about games that are maybe coming up, but you can’t really talk about this one.”
Taking time out to speak with the Leader as he made his way home from Dublin ahead of the much vaunted senior county decider, Brendan said he hoped his younger brother would play some part in the contest after picking up a niggling hernia injury.
Before going on to explain why he was lining out for Clonguish and not Slashers this weekend, the 22-year-old first heaped praise on his parents, Kevin and Gabrielle, for adopting an even-handed stance since both sides won their respective semi-final encounters.
“They (parents) have been very diplomatic to be fair,” he responded. “It is a Slashers parish where we live in Derryharrow but when I was playing U14s or around that time I was asked to play for Clonguish.”
If Brendan was attempting to dilute any potential hostility in the Devine household as throw-in time approached, Slashers player Paul took a slightly different view.
“There has been plenty of banter,” he told the Leader breaking into laughter. “I’m not sure who my parents will be cheering for, though they do go for a drink in Newtownforbes so I think they are more Clonguish than Slashers.”
“We do have a few injury problems but there are positive vibes in the Slashers camp even though we are facing a very tough task against an excellent Clonguish team,” Paul, who is hoping that his injury will not deter him, explained.
“We were confident we would reach the final but as Denis (Connerton, manager) keeps telling us, it’s a lot harder to hold on to the title than it is to win it the first time around.”
It’s an unusual story but the end of the chapter will only be revealed at around 5.20pm this Sunday.
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