Wednesday 24 January 2018

Curran insists size of Croker pitch won't be a problem for Ballymun

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

BALLYMUN Kickhams boss Paul Curran insists his side will have no problem implementing their game plan in the wide open spaces of Croke Park ahead of Sunday's AIB All-Ireland club SFC final.

The Dublin champions' hard-running style and remarkable fitness has won many admirers, but some have questioned whether such a tactic can work at HQ.

But Curran pointed out that they managed to see off Dr Crokes in Semple Stadium and believes the diameters of the venue will have little impact when they take on St Brigid's on St Patrick's Day.

"I think a lot of people are making a big thing out of the pitch but a pitch is a pitch," said the 1995 Dublin All-Ireland winner. "I know it's a fast surface, but is it any bigger than Thurles? I don't know. I don't think it's a major issue. We're obviously looking forward to playing on it, but we're not making a big deal of it. We'll try and get on the ball and play our game.

"If you want to be successful, it starts with fitness at number one. I think it has been a little bit unfair on these particular lads because they're exceptional footballers.

"They're talented players, they can kick with both feet, use both hands and are comfortable in a lot of positions. You have fellas who have played from the forward line into defence and vice versa.


"I think the fitness thing is one thing, but most teams at this stage of the competition are at a similar level in terms of fitness."

Curran goes head-to-head with Brigid's manager Kevin McStay, 24 years after they should have faced off as players in the Dublin SFC final of 1989.

Curran lined out for the eventual winners Thomas Davis, while McStay, then ironically a member of the Ballymun club, missed out after suffering a dislocated jaw while in action for Mayo against Galway.

Curran was impressed by the manner of St Brigid's win over Crossmaglen. But Ballymun were equally impressive in their win over Colm Cooper's Dr Crokes.

"I think it will be a different game (in the final).

"I don't want to be disrespectful to the Brigid's (versus Crossmaglen) game, but I think it'll be more of a football match. We play football and they play football as well. A lot of people made too much about the Brigid's tactics of slowing up and spoiling.

"Most teams do that... I think they just didn't want to let the team they were playing perform. I think it'll be a game of football.

"We'll, obviously, identify some areas where they can be strong and hurt us.

"In fairness, Dr Crokes are a class side and we played very well on the day... We'll be hoping we'll get more from our inside line this time round."

Irish Independent

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