Sunday 20 August 2017

'Things are going to go well for this kid in his life' - Joe Brolly beams with pride as he discusses his son Ruairí's heroic exploits

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Ruairí Brolly. Remember the name.

The 16-year-old son of former Derry All-Ireland winner and Sunday Independent columnist Joe showed nerves of steel to land two extra-time points as the Antrim minors edged out Donegal in a thrilling Ulster championship clash on Sunday.

Level at full-time and trailing by three points in the second period of extra time, Antrim conjured up a final surge in the closing minutes with the young Brolly scoring a brace before Tiarnán McAteer floated over the winning score sparking joyous scenes among the Saffron ranks.

Speaking on the Throw-In podcast on Independent.ie, which has gone straight to top spot on the list of sports podcasts on iTunes, Joe, who rushed the field after the final whistle, described the pride and emotion he experienced during the thrilling encounter.

"I'm still absolutely buzzing about that," he said.

"My heart was sinking in ordinary time because Antrim were the better team in ordinary time but hadn't won it. Then Donegal got a three point lead in extra time and Donegal were starting to do their chest-out thing and Antrim were going to come close like they did last year but lose it.

"To see them digging in... my fella is only 16. He was only brought in to the minor's last weekend because he had been performing very strongly for the under-17s. He scored eight points against Cavan in the Ulster semi-final and he's technically very good, he's left-footed and right-footed, he's strong and he's got ice in his veins.

"They only brought him in in extra-time, You try to be unbiased, you try to be objective but to see your kid, for me it was unbelievably emotional, relaxed and nailing difficult points boom, boom at the crucial time.

"You think to yourself, 'Things are going to go well for this kid in his life' because he's not going to have any lack of courage.

"For me, how you play on the field is how you live off the field. It augurs very well that he stood up for the team like that and he's always been a team player.

"Whether he goes on to win an All-Ireland with Antrim or not, the important thing is, he loves his football."

Brolly also discussed the post-match pitch invasion as he embraced the Antrim players, joking that he doesn't mind being banned by the GAA for the expression of joy after a week where he helped get Antrim senior star Matt Fitzpatrick off a 48-week suspension.

"Well now that I've admitted it, it doesn't matter if I can be identified or not," Brolly joked.

"I don't mind being banned anyway because I'd be able to defend myself.

"We kicked the winning score with the last kick of the game and that prompted a pitch invasion by all 30 Antrim supporters!"

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