'Laois Lion' John proves real dual jewel 2012-01-02 10:42:00

IN the big smoke, he's known as the 'Laois Lion' who wears his heart on his shirt.

John O'Loughlin is the Brigid's Brave -- he gives it everything.

He's a dual jewel -- there's not many of them left.

John had the distinction of being named in both the Dubs Stars hurling and football selections for Sunday's double date with Dublin on the Kiltipper Road.

He was a principal figure as the Russell Park club reached the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship semi-final.

It represented another commendable step for Timmy O'Mahony's men, a side that bristles with industry and generous pockets of craft.

"We had a good run in the hurling, but it's a pity we didn't go a bit further," reflected John.

"We could have got to the final, although, in saying that, Ballyboden would have been very hard to beat.

"Yet I felt we were capable of beating O'Toole's in the semi-final, but it just wasn't to be.

"Still, as hurlers, we have much to be happy about. If anybody had said a few months ago that Brigid's would have got to the semi-final, they would have been laughed at.

"I think we can take plenty from the year and use the experience for next season, where we'll try to build on this year's performance.

"We'll continue to work hard and try again," states John, who was busier than most this term.

His influence also helped the Brigid's footballers collect Dublin gold and advance to the Leinster final.

He hasn't had much time for putting his feet up.

"Yes, it was a busy year alright, but if I'm busy it means that we are winning, so I'll take that."

He's not surprised that Brigid's have become the Dublin Kings for the second time.

Like his hurling brothers, he says it all comes down to attitude.

"The Brigid's lads showed that they were not going to give up anything too easy this year.

"In the football, it was our aim all season to win the Dublin title. We said we'd work as hard as we could, and if any team worked harder, fair play to them.

"That was our mentality all along. And I was delighted to win the Dublin title. It was brilliant."

John knows the Dublin terrain well, having previously played with UCD.

"People can say what they like about the Dublin Football Championship, but to me it's the best championship in the country. It's as simple as that.

"There are 32 teams in it. It's the hardest championship to get out of. And, as we well know, this year there are no easy games."

And, although the result was not the desired one against Garrycastle in the Leinster final, the Brigid's boys gave their last drop of sweat.

And in the story of John 2011, big ball or small, that has been the Brigid's bible all year.

St Brigids GAA Club,
Russell Park, Navan Road, Dublin 15