GAA

Carlow Might Have The Best Set Of Nicknames In The Championship

Carlow Might Have The Best Set Of Nicknames In The Championship

Sean Gannon has played a hundred times for Carlow but there have been few games as sweet as Sunday's: a stunning 2-14 to 1-10 victory over Kildare.

A first win over Kildare in 65 years lands Carlow in a Leinster semi-final, but before Laois and Croke Park hovered into view, there was a bit of celebrating to be done.

"It was crazy, really. There was no room to move, people upon others' shoulders, it was crazy", Gannon told The So-Called Weaker Podcast. "These days don't come around very often. I'm involved in the panel for ten years and there have been very few memorable days. Not just for the players, but the supporters too. It's great for them to go out and celebrate with the players.".

You can listen to the full interview by subscribing to the podcast on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. You'll find it by search 'Balls.ie' on your app of choice.

The Kildare victory is the most eye-catching staging post of Carlow's seemingly inexorable rise, which has thus far a run to the third round of the qualifiers and promotion to Division 3. That the Kildare victory was achieved without talisman Brendan Murphy makes it all the more impressive. So what's the secret? Their defence, drilled by Steven Poacher, is relatively mean, while their attack has clicked this year: they didn't kick a single wide against Kildare. Heck, even the free-kick that dropped short ended up in the net.

"Turlough said on the Sunday Game that he told us not to kick any wides...I don't know why he waited four years to tell us, it's a very good tactic! He might try it against Laois".

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Joking aside, Gannon praises Turlough O'Brien's influence on the squad.

Turlough is good in that way; his man-management is as good as anyone's in the country. He knows how we all tick, and everyone is in good spirits and happy enough. There's an awful lot of characters in the group as well, and you know that when you go training on a Tuesday and Thursday that something good is going to happen and you look forward to it.

He probably inherited a squad that had 15 lads that had been around an awful long time. We had been putting in an effort but we had been cutting corners, if we're telling the brutal truth, so it was about getting together to say that 'look, we haven't got too many years left so let's really make the effort here'.

Especially our gym work: we've upped it to be able to match the bigger teams. We are as big as anyone in the country now, and we're confident of competing with them.

Gannon did elaborate on some of the characters in the dressing room, and in doing so unearthed some of the best Championship nicknames we've heard this year.

The leader of the pack is their midfield hadron collider, Sean Murphy.

There is one obvious one - Sean 'Choo-Choo' Murphy. Like that story of him shearing 50 sheep before the Monaghan match last year: that's not a lie. He gets up early in the morning, does a bit on the farm, then goes off and works 9-5, then does an extra bit on the farm: training gets in the way a bit!

He only lives up the road from our training centre. Darragh Foley would be there from half 6 kicking frees, and then at 29 minutes past 7, just when we're getting ready to start, Sean Murphy would hop the fence wearing some kind of Jack and Jones t-shirt. So he'd arrive in and start belting balls with the outside of his foot without a proper warmup. He's different gravy.

Even when we're playing, when Sean gets the ball, you can hear the crowd going, "Choo Choo". It's mental.

So we have the Horse Lawlor, the Bear Redmond, the Panda Diarmuid Walsh; we have more animals on the team than anything else.

Gannon works as a Games Development Officer in Carlow and says that the county team's progress has made his job a bit easier. "It's great to see the Carlow jersey going round. For years it was Kildare, Dublin, and Kilkenny jerseys. It's brilliant and making my job a lot easier, so long may it continue!".

You can listen to the full interview on the podcast.

See Also: The Hair Gel Is Now Left Outside The Dressing Room Door Of Galway Football

See Also: Paltry Coverage Of Big Games Shows The Sunday Game Isn't Doing Justice To Gaelic Football

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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