Wednesday 17 September 2014

Kerry's exile stars for London

Kevin Hughes

Published 29/05/2013 | 05:36

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Former St Mary’s, Cahersiveen, player Stephen Curran celebrates London’s 1-12 to 0-14 win over Sligo in the Connacht GAA senior football championship quarter-final at Emerald Park, Ruislip, London, on Sunday.
Nial Ó Sé, Piarsaigh na Dromoda. Kerry County Junior Football Championship Final, St Mary's v Piarsaigh na Dromoda, Austin Stack Park, Tralee, Co. Kerry. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.

CAHERSIVEEN man Stephen Curran has a smile wider than the Thames Tunnel this week after his London side secured a historic victory over Sligo and a first championship win in 36 years.

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The full-back sounded a little croaky when The Kerryman caught up with him this week, and rightly so, as the Exiles' deserved celebrations continued into the 'wee hours' on Sunday night.

"We had a good celebration and stayed in Ruislip before ending up in The Claddagh Ring in north London," he revealed.

Remarkably, despite Kerry's strong connections with the British capital and its proud GAA tradition, Stephen was the only Kerry man on the squad.

He says the work the team has put paid off, although they breathed a sigh of relief when Sligo's Brian Curran punched the ball against the London crossbar on the last play of the game, handing London a one-point victory.

"We thought it was going to be another hard luck story but, luckily, they hit the bar in the last minute. We had the rub of the green but you make your own luck and we had been putting the training in before this," Stephen revealed. "We put serious effort into this and trained five nights a week up until April, so we knew we had a real chance. The training is back to three nights a week but it's still a huge commitment considering London is spread out and we're now looking forward to the challenge of playing Leitrim next."

A former Kerry minor and under-21, Stephen was on the All-Ireland winning St Mary's, Cahersiveen, side that collected the Junior All-Ireland in Croke Park and there's the no-small matter of six South Kerry Championships too.

"The All-Ireland was a big one but Sunday's game was up there too," he stated.

While the cloud of emigration looms over Kerry, Stephen's move to London was not related to a lack of work.

"I'm a structural engineer and had been working with my father (Frank Curran) in Cahersiveen but I decided to return to London to get more experience," he explained.

All eyes will now be on Carrick-on-Shannon on June 23 when the Exiles take on Leitrim.


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