Raymond gunning for Lory Meagher glory
Keith Raymond will have to be at his best if Sligo are to lift the Lory Meagher Cup on Saturday but the Calry/St Joseph's midfielder is familiar with grabbing the headlines, writes Michael Verney.
Raymond caused a stir when debuting with the Yeats County at just 15 in 2003, and 13 years later he's their go-to man as they look to upset Louth in Saturday's opener.
He debated offers to move
to his mother's home in Killenaule, Co Tipperary during his teens but eventually declined. His uncle always paid his club membership just in case but despite watching greats like John Leahy in the flesh the talented Raymond decided to stick it out with Sligo.
"The opportunity was there, but I chose not to go in the end," he said. "And I'm very happy with what we've achieved up in Sligo and the way things have gone for me personally. I'm a fella who likes to be at home, to be honest. When I passed my Leaving Cert, I was meant to go to Waterford IT, but, again, I decided to stay at home and went to Sligo IT."
He helped Sligo claim the Nicky Rackard Cup in 2008, before "a huge call-up" led to his proudest day when lining out at midfield for Connacht in the Railway Cup semi-final in 2009.
"It's something I had in my sights when I was a young fella, to play for Connacht, and I was delighted to get the call. I was surprised to be picked but I actually managed to play okay.
"I'm a great believer that it doesn't matter whether you're from Kilkenny or whether you're from Sligo, you can still develop the same skills."