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Watch: Cyril Farrell Lifts Lid On Antics Of 1980s Galway Hurling Team

Watch: Cyril Farrell Lifts Lid On Antics Of 1980s Galway Hurling Team
By PJ Browne Updated

'We had a funny bunch, maybe you wouldn't get away with it nowadays,' said Cyril Farrell on Off The Ball this week.

Farrell, a three-time All-Ireland winning manager, is the last man to lead Galway to a senior All-Ireland hurling title. On Sunday, Micheál Donoghue hopes to end Farrell's claim to that title.

During the week, Farrell recounted some of the antics which his 1980s Galway side would get up to - win or lose. One particular tale involved a set of twins on the panel.

When we'd win a match or lose a match, we'd have everything on the bus going home. Within reason, anything the lads wanted, they got.

On the 1980s squad, I had a pair of twins called Pascal and John Ryan brothers of Eanna. Brilliant hurlers, one of them won an U21. I had them on the panel but could never fully get them right.

They were very good with the girls. Sylvie Linnane would know by the way they were dressed at training, if they had white socks on at training, look out. He'd say 'what's on tonight, boys?' Their favourite stunt was they might swap. No one would know the difference.

Being a betting man, I'd say maybe we'd have a bet and see who would get caught but they never got caught.

Farrell also explained how he got the players on his side during that first season on charge.

In October or November of 1979, I brought them into Athenry, into the old dressing rooms. I brought them round, had a bit of training. I told John [Connolly] I was going to pick on him first because he was kind of the golden boy. I told him, 'if you can't train, you can't play'.

I chaired a meeting, I sat on the table and I let each lad speak. I'll never forget it, PJ Molloy was in the corner. At the very end he hopped up and he caught me. I wasn't expecting it and he lifted me up. He said, 'are you you telling me that if we do what you say, we'll win the All-Ireland?' It was easy for me to say, I said 'I tell you, we'll be the fittest team in the country, we'll be the strongest and we will win'. He dropped me down and the meeting was over.

For their first training session of 1980 - a year which would see Galway beat Limerick in the All-Ireland final - Farrell adopted a 'break them then make them' approach.

The first training session we had was on the January 6th. I had contacts in UCG, I was just after leaving it. We played UCG in Carnmore. The groundsman was told - on the quiet - we'll be training hard enough in the wet and much. I said 'I don't want any hot water on afterwards. No hot water and you be gone'.

I was in a tracksuit, I was gone. We were training again on the Tuesday night. I could hear the boys saying, 'that little baldy effer. Where is he?'

I was trying to say to them, the training this year will be different - 'I'll break ye first and then I'll make ye'.

You can watch Cyril Farrell speaking on Off The Ball below.


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