Sunday 22 April 2018

Where are they now?

Gerry Carroll

(Former Offaly footballer)

When the final whistle blew in the 1982 All-Ireland football final, Offaly's Gerry Carroll found himself over near the Cusack Stand. The field was invaded by Offaly supporters and, by the time he made his way over to the Hogan Stand, the presentation was almost over and the Sam Maguire was being passed down the steps. Carroll was the last Offaly player to be handed the cup and he was the one who carried it off the field.

For Carroll, this was a special moment, one of his outstanding memories of the day, but for him the game itself was pretty special too. Kerry provided the opposition; they were vying for five All-Ireland titles in a row and were overwhelming favourites. Offaly were four points down with four minutes to go, they pulled back two points in two minutes and Seamus Darby followed up with his historic goal.

"It was probably one of the best All-Ireland finals ever played," says Carroll. "The scoring was high, both at half-time and full-time. It was a great game to be involved in."

Two years later, Carroll moved to Boston. Initially, he intended to stay for three months, play football and work but there were more employment opportunities in America than Ireland so he decided to stay on. Along with playing football in Boston he played in New York at the weekends. He eventually moved to New York and has been there ever since. He finished off his sporting career playing semi-pro soccer in the Long Island first division. In 1996, he married an American, Claire, and they have a five-year-old son Rowan who just started playing soccer.

Although Carroll lives in New York, he still has a keen interest in Gaelic football and keeps in touch with many of his former team-mates. He thinks his county needs to take baby steps to get back to winning Leinster titles and that the way to do it is to start working at underage level.

In 1985, Carroll won an Offaly title with his club Edenderry when they beat Raheen by a point. Today Edenderry play Clara in the county final and although he won't be there he will receive updates on the game from home.

"I really hope they win but Clara are expected to win comfortably. My nephew Keith McGuinness is playing and his father will keep me posted on the scores via text message."

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