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From All-Ireland Talent Show to the Galway full-back line - Young Tribesmen star on balancing music and football

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Galway defender Sean Mulkerrin shadowing Kerry captain David Clifford last Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

Galway defender Sean Mulkerrin shadowing Kerry captain David Clifford last Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

Galway defender Sean Mulkerrin shadowing Kerry captain David Clifford last Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

Eleven years have passed since Seán Mulkerrin first hit the Irish television screens.

In 2009, alongside his brothers Pádraig and Éamonn, Seán won the inaugural series of the All-Ireland Talent Show. The Mulkerrin Brothers guested alongside Sinead O'Connor in London and went on a nationwide tour.

Now that he's a fledgling full-back on a Galway football side that under Pádraic Joyce has grand hopes for 2020, Seán remains committed to his off-field talents.

"I play in Joe Watty's pub and I do the odd gig here and there," he says. "I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it. They're the sacrifices you have to make."

A talented Sean-nós dancer, Seán plays the banjo and, as a YouTube video of him singing in a Boston bar in 2018 shows, he is a fine singer, too. The clip, of Mulkerrin singing 'Caledonia', has almost 250,000 views.

"It's more so singing and playing now," he says. "I think the cuteness is gone now. That was 11 years ago, you know that we were on the Talent Show. The music does and doesn't get in the way of the football. It's demanding enough, but I just get on with it."

Mulkerrin hails from Inis Mór and is believed to be the first player from the Aran Islands to play league football for Galway. His location makes it a task to commit. Even training is an overnight stay for the full-back.

He says: "I suppose during the summer, if I want to make a few pound for myself, timing is the big issue. You have to get the 4pm ferry for 7pm training and you are not getting back until the 10.30am ferry the following morning, so it is kind of tough."

Mulkerrin is a final year Arts student at NUIG and plans to go into teaching. For the moment, his mind is on Sunday's Division 1 clash with Donegal, where he is likely to have the task of shackling Michael Murphy.

Last weekend, Mulkerrin had David Clifford for company on the edge of the square as Galway were pipped by Kerry. Paul Geaney levelled the game with a goal before Killian Spillane won it with a last-gasp point.

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Michael Murphy. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Murphy. Photo: Sportsfile

Mulkerrin says: "They really got it at the death. It was tough as you are going from a winning position where you are probably thinking that you might grind it out, to losing by a point. If we got a draw, at least we would have got something out of the game.

"We put ourselves in the position, we created the chances. It would be worse if we hadn't created the chances. The result didn't reflect it but the performance was good."

Already, Mulkerrin can see Joyce is plotting for an attack-minded game plan with the Tribesmen.

The defender says: "He is a legend of the game, not only in Galway but everybody knows him for what he has done. You're learning from the best because that is what he is. It is great and I am sure the forwards are relishing the forward play.

"His philosophy is simple really. You get the ball and you move forward. He always says the ball is the fastest thing that will travel on the pitch, so that is what we are trying to implement. We are not quite there yet, but we are getting there."

Mulkerrin is aware that competition for places will hot up once the full complement return from Corofin.

He says: "When you get in, you have to make the most of it. The competition for places is hectic, not only making the 26, but making the starting 15 is even harder. You can't be comfortable, you have to feel uncomfortable if you want to keep your place.

"They (Corofin contingent) had a well-deserved break as they have been three full years at it and their three-in-a-row is great for Galway as well.

"Their style is similar to the style that we want to implement; you have your battle, your duel to win the ball and you keep moving. Corofin show how dangerous they can be when they go on the attack like that."

Irish Independent