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Simon Keller, Garbally

Simon Keller, Garbally

?INPHO/James Crombie

Simon Keller, Garbally

Name: Simon Keller School: Garbally Club: Ballinasloe Date of birth: August 7, 1996 Position: Out-half

Biggest influence?

There have been many coaches that have influenced me along the way. I would have to say Mike Horan has had the biggest influence as he gave me my first opportunity at senior cup even though I was only in transition year. Also my game has been greatly influenced by working with the likes of Dan Parks and all the Connacht coaches.

Famous Garbally past pupils?

There are quite a few. On the sport front there's former Ireland rugby internationals Ciaran Fitzgerald and Noel Mannion, who is helping coach us this year. Also Johnny O'Connor, who played for Connacht and Ireland. There is Tiernan O'Halloran who is currently playing for Connacht. Then there's two of Ireland's most famous comedians Tommy Tiernan and Hector O'hEochagáin.

Player most admired?

That's a tough question as there are quite a few. If I was to pick one I think it would have to be Johnny Sexton. He really is an incredible talent. I love the passion and the commitment that he brings to every game that he plays, he never shies away from a tackle.

Most memorable game?

It would have to of been two years ago when we played Jes in the semi-final in Garbally. I was only in transition year at the time so it was a bit intimidating. It was 8-8 with about ten minutes left when I scored the winning drop-goal. It was a big occasion for us as it was the first time we had reached the final since the boarders left, and to score the points to get us there made it all the sweeter..

What does it mean to captain your side this year?

It really does mean everything. It was a extremely proud moment for me when I found out that I would lead the team this year. There are many great players that have captained Garbally in the past and I am honoured to be given the opportunity to follow in their footsteps. Also, my brother used to think he had one up on me as he captained the Cup team in 2012 but he can no longer use that card and hopefully if everything goes to plan I'll have one up on him by the end of the competition.

Irish Independent