They’re building hundreds of apartments on the grass hockey field that once upon a time belonged to Notre Dame secondary school in Churchtown, Dublin. It was the only properly level playing field between the old Dundrum shopping centre and Milltown Golf Club, and one of the side entrances was always left open. We would cut through from Weston Park and the new houses built at the back of us at Finsbury Park, and, depending on the time of the year, that field could be staging the World Cup finals or the Olympics. Sometimes twice in the one summer. There was no closing time, and the nuns didn’t seem to mind once we left before dark and kept the noise down. When I was 16 and getting bored my dad took me and my older brother for a run down to that hockey field, waiting until after dusk so my mates didn’t slag me off. He told us to keep our backs straight and lift our knees a little higher and that we might be okay at it, then one night we told him to run on home and we’d follow him after a few more laps.
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