O'Brien: We will surprise people who expect 'huge Dublin win'
Turlough O'Brien is chief executive officer of Tinteán, the Carlow Voluntary Housing Association, whose core mission is to build houses for the vulnerable, the elderly, people on low income, and those with disability.
The ethos is that Tinteán provides the house while the tenants provide the sense of community.
In his other role as Carlow football manager, O'Brien is seeking to build, block by block, a winning mentality.
On the back of their shock 2-17 to 2-13 Leinster preliminary-round win over Wexford, Division 4 side Carlow face the ultimate test this evening in O'Moore Park when they come face to face with the mighty Dublin.
The Dubs are unbackable favourites, but O'Brien remains upbeat. Asked after beating Wexford who he thought would win the All-Ireland, O'Brien told The Sunday Game: "I don't think you can look past Dublin - through the back door!"
This week he added: "I think we will give a very good account of ourselves and surprise people expecting a huge Dublin win.
"I think we have turned a corner. One of the big attributes of this Carlow team is perseverance. That has been a big failing in Carlow football teams."
O'Brien is certainly not intimidated by the Dubs.
"It's about doing your job right," he argued. "Resources is not the reason for the success of Dublin - it's about attention to detail. Jim Gavin has a huge backroom team willing to give their time; they all do their job. The basics remains the same."
He has been to watch Kilkenny hurlers and Kerry footballers in training.
"Maybe the training is more intense but they are doing the basics. It's about putting a system in place that players can buy into," he said.
O'Brien has cultivated a great love of cycling, which helps take his mind off football.
He has cycled extensively in Ireland, England, France, Switzerland, Italy and the USA. With a deep interest in ancient pilgrimage routes, he has cycled the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, as well as the Camino Santiago on many occasions.
He has just published a book titled Cycling South Leinster: Great Road Routes.
But his current focus is firmly on today's challenge.
There is a renewed optimism among Carlow supporters, who are certain to travel in large numbers to Portlaoise in the hope that one of the GAA Cinderella counties can do itself proud against the All-Ireland champions.