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Gaels Past & Present - Joe Carroll

Joe Carroll looks back at his time in blue & White

1: First memory of the club -

Going to the Hut (our clubrooms at the time), wearing short trousers, to see one of my older brothers, Stephen, playing snooker- and cards, probably. Stephen and my other brothers, Peter and Paddy – who was club secretary for a number of years – played with the club. I’d have been at The Ramparts top field – where we now play – to see them in action.

2: Biggest GAA influence -

Although we lived just across the road from Oriel Park – and myself, my brothers and father would have gone there – Gaelic was our family’s game, and we all gravitated towards the Gaels. The Christian Brothers, who taught all of us – or tried, in my case – had a big influence, Gaelic being the school’s only game at the time.

3: Worst trainer -

I can’t really say if there was anyone who didn’t put it in on the training ground – there were just those who didn’t turn up on a regular basis. We all trained very hard coming up to finals, the 1962 Minor Championship, in particular. Seanie Coleman had charge of that team and we won, the only title I ever got my hands on.

4: Best trainer -

Same again, I suppose. There was no-one I can remember, either in underage or adult football, who would stay on and practice frees or anything like that when training was over. But, again, we made a huge effort for the 1979 Intermediate final, when Gerry Heeney was our trainer. This was the only adult final I was involved in as a player, and we lost to Geraldines.

5: Funniest team mate -

There’s been some talk in the papers recently of a player who headed a goal for Laois in a senior championship match with Dublin. We got one of those in a league game with Clan na Gael, and the headline in the Democrat the following week was “Header Finds The Net.” Terry Callan, a brother of well-known Dundalk and Doncaster player, Francie, was the scorer.

6: Favourite pitch -

I’d love to make PJ Loughran jealous with this one, but, unfortunately, can’t - he also played in Croke Park. It’s every player’s ambition to run out at headquarters, and I was lucky to that in my time it was the venue most years for Louth’s minor and under-21 championship matches. I also played senior there as a full-back, and while masquerading as a goalkeeper. At local level, St Brigid’s Park was great to play on, and I have good memories of schools’ and underage football in the Athletic Grounds.