Dundrum harboured many youth gangs. There was little organisation involved in the formation of the gangs and most fell into place depending on where you lived and the school you attended. The local national school was a hotbed of gang recruitment and they were much tougher than us nambies.

We had to be careful who we fought to ensure that we didn’t get a good hiding. Morgan Kinsella was to be avoided as he was a tough nut, bigger and stronger than the rest of us. His young brother Mick and his friend Larry Kilkenny were sworn enemies of ours. Claims would be arranged and would usually end quickly with one of the protagonists in a submissive headlock. This was considered a victory and the hormone hierarchy took another developmental step forward.

Our gang was called the Simps, which was an unfortunate acronym of our first name initials.  Our headquarters was in the Kenny’s garden shed where we painted our name psychedelic style on the window. Like a leg-lifting-labrador, we had stamped authority on our territory; a demonstration to rivals to threaten us at their peril.

The local National School gang didn’t quite see it like we did. In pushing our territorial boundaries west along the railway line which ran alongside Kenny’s garden, we encountered the enemy.  A lot of shouting words we didn’t really understand led to a tactical withdrawal as the railway sharp stones rained down upon us. We scuttled up the bank, dodged around Mr. Kenny’s big BMW and ran for it.

The pursuing gang roared a few final insults about the quality of our yellow backbones and in a final salute to our cowardice, lobbed a large rock in our direction. We froze as it sailed through the air, missing branches that would have brought it safely back to earth, and hit the back window of the BMW. It shattered into a thousand tiny pieces littering the back seat with shards of fizzing glass. Mr. Kenny heard the explosion but Ivor was the only one of us left to face his fuming father. We were bravely sprinting homeward along the culdey leaving our comrade grounded for two weeks.