|At a time when most people have taken out the six-inch nail and hung up the boots Dominic The BAT Martin is on the cusp of playing one of the biggest games in his career.|
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AT a time when most people have taken out the six-inch nail and hung up the boots Dominic Domo Martin is on the cusp of playing one of the biggest games in his career.
Trim Celtic have earned a place in the last 16 of the FAI Junior Cup, a competition that started with 650 teams four months ago.
Not only that they are just two games away from qualifying for a place in the FAI Senior Cup. Dizzy days for the Hoops.
They have been drawn to play away to Limerick side Carew Park. Its a difficult assignment, but one that wont faze Martin. He has seen it all before and now has a copyright on the t-shirt.
Martin, who has turned the big four O, has been playing as long as the Meath & District League (and its predecessor the Mid-Meath League) have been in existence.
He kicked-off his career with Turmec, one of the pioneers of the league, before moving on to have spells with Railway Rovers, Spartans, NLR (who became Trim Town) and Trim Celtic.
Now close to 10 years with the Tully Park outfit, Martin can look back at some seasons when they struggled to make an impact.
Then there were the good times. And right up there among his best days was Trim Celtics victory over Albion Rovers in the MDL Challenge Cup final in 2001.
Throughout his career Martin has played at midfield or in defence. These days he is an ever-present at the heart of the Trim Celtic backline – an experienced braveheart among a group of largely young warriors.
If he avoids injury Martin will take his place at the heart of the defence once more for the joust with Carew Celtic.
Trim Celtics progress through the treacherous waters of one of the biggest competitions in Europe has surprised many people, but not Martin.
He has been impressed with the way his team have pulled together when faced with formidable foes.
The lads have worked very hard in each game. They have played for each other and shown plenty of character and good morale. We train two nights a week at the MDL and we have been getting good turn-outs each night, he explained.
Martin owes much of his longevity to the fact that he has avoided serious injury with only the usual knocks and bruises halting his progress.
He also keeps a close watch on his fitness. After most games and training sessions he makes use of a hot tub installed in his home, an important part his regime.
Then there is the enthusiasm, the sheer enjoyment of going out each Sunday afternoon and playing the game he has been infatuated with for most of his life. So far there is little sign of that enthusiasm diminishing in any way.
Ill keep playing in the first team as long as I can and as long as I am selected. Then Ill go down to the second team and take it from there. I enjoy the game very much and dont intend to pack it in just yet, but sooner or later you have to step down.
Martin has been a Tranmere Rovers fan for many years and he counts among his acquaintances former Irish striker and ex-Tranmere manager John Aldridge.
They have met many times, sometimes after internationals and other occasions after games at Prenton Park, the home of the club Martin has visited on occasions. Aldridge also made a number of appearances at events in Trim.
When they talk there is usually a joke or two. He calls me the mad lad from Trim, adds Martin with a laugh. One of the features of Aldridges career that Martin admires was that the striker played up until he hit 40.
Soccer has not always been Martins number one sport. When he was younger, much younger he showed plenty of promise as a Gaelic footballer. He was on the Meath u-21 team that won a Leinster title in the mid-1980s. Among his teammates were Bernard Flynn, Brian Stafford and Bobby OMalley.
It is another cameo from a long career. A victory by Trim Celtic over Carew Park would constitute another great day for Martin. A fine achievement for a player who is holding back the years better than most.
Jimmy Geoghegan, Meath Chronicle issue date Sat 29th January 2005