Wednesday 18 September 2019

Carroll yet to decide if he'll extend his Offaly career to a 15th season

Brian Carroll still hasn't made up his mind about his inter-county future
Brian Carroll still hasn't made up his mind about his inter-county future
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Brian Carroll has not made up his mind about his inter-county future as Coolderry prepare for their first Leinster club hurling campaign in four years.

The long-serving Offaly man, who made his debut in 2002, has yet to confirm to new manager Eamonn Kelly if he will extend his inter-county career into a 15th year.

He will wait until Coolderry's interest in the club championship is over before he firms up a decision.

"I've been very lucky to have played for Offaly for 14 years. I've had a long career. I'm coming to the stage where I've a lot of other things going on in life. There's a lot of things to decide yet," he said.

But if he does go back he won't be using a dearth of proper training facilities as an excuse for how they fare out.

Carroll believes the time for making excuses in the county is over.

"You can make out of it what you want. Wherever you've to go training, you go training. It's up to individuals involved to do the best out of it that they can.

"If people want crutches, they'll always find crutches. That's me being brutally honest. It's great to see the Kilcormac development taking place, great to see Shane Lowry getting involved, and all the ex-Offaly hurlers, to raise money. And it can only benefit Offaly hurling.

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"We're now putting the structures in place. Things are starting to turn. It's important that everybody tries to drive forward.

"I'm sure Eamonn has a long-term plan. It's important that he's given the time and that supporters get behind him to drive things forward because it's a long road back.

"But hopefully the tide will turn. We're in the round robin next year. It's very important Offaly come out of that. If they do and top the group they're playing Galway. It's a tough game. Come second and they're playing Laois - another tough game. Laois were excellent this year. Full credit for their victory over us in O'Moore Park this year. We know where we are, we know what we have to do."

"Offaly hurling hopefully will start to go back to where it should be next year."

Coolderry have been hit with a mass of defections - 11 by Carroll's count - since their 2012 All-Ireland final defeat to Loughgiel Shamrocks.

"We lost three guys to cruciate injuries. It's very unfortunate for the individuals involved and I suppose it's a bittersweet moment for them," he said.

"In particular, we lost Cathal Parlon who played for the county for a number of years. It's very disappointing for Cathal, he's actually over in Los Angeles. It was a hard day (county final) for Cathal to be over there, so far away from home and his family and all his friends. Cathal has been such a great servant to Coolderry and Offaly over the years."

That defeat to Loughgiel, he admits, took a lot out of them. "Loughgiel were worthy champions and they were absolutely excellent on the day but I suppose we, as a group of players, probably didn't take that defeat well," he recalled.

"It hit us very hard and, as I said, Kilcormac/Killoughey dominated for a few years afterwards and it looked like our chance was gone.

"But we never stopped believing and we were very lucky we got an excellent manager in Johnny Kelly this year.

"We're very lucky in Coolderry that we're top of the roll of honour. We've 30 titles, it's a very competitive club scene in Offaly," Carroll added.

"A lot of clubs have dominated over the years and while the county scene mightn't be going too great at the moment, the club scene is and we've had some good champions over the years."

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