Sunday 25 August 2019

Rough and tumble on GAA fields primes Carty for Euros

Carty: "You need to be waiting in the ready in the box three seconds before it arrives. Otherwise, you’re out." Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

John Fallon

While the continental influence has been lauded for the revival of Wolves, Conor Carty believes there's still a place for traditional Irish values at Molineux.

Style and verve are the hallmarks of the side steered by Portuguese Nuno Espirito Santo to seventh in the Premier League in their first season back in the top-flight.

Irishman Matt Doherty's brawn has also contributed to their success and Carty can attest to the mixture being valued at the club.

He cites his GAA background, a sport he represented his county of Wicklow in, for conditioning him to the physical exertions demanded by the step-up to full-time training.

Some of his colleagues in the Wolves Academy sourced from different countries have unfortunately shown the darker side of a cosmopolitan culture.

"Nowadays if you blow on a player, they fall over," he says with a smile.

"Knowing how to use your body to keep the ball from my GAA days has been a huge help. I'm a shoulder-to-shoulder player, whereas the German and Austrian kids all pull out of stuff like that."

Kevin Doyle is another compatriot fondly remembered in the Black Country and the pair have compared notes while in camp this week preparing for tomorrow's Euro U-17 finals opener against Greece.

Doyle is part of Colin O'Brien's backroom team for the tournament which the FAI are hosting and, given Carty also operates up front, he's a sponge around the former Ireland international.

"Kevin knew the landlady I'm in digs with from his time at Wolves," explains the teen, who hails from Dunlavin.

"He's been really helpful working on my game, telling me where to be to receive the ball. You need to be waiting in the box three seconds before it arrives. Otherwise, you're out."

Those instincts were on show when Carty scored twice in Ireland's 3-0 win over Turkey earlier this season. Valuable as that experience was, it was one in a series of friendlies played by Ireland in the absence of the competitive fare.

As Ireland automatically qualify for the finals as hosts, tomorrow's game will the first during the blossoming career of this squad that the result matters.

They'll need points from the fixtures against Greece, Czech Republic (Monday) and Belgium (Thursday) to complete three consecutive years of progression to the knockout stages for Ireland at the tournament.

"We can get out of this group," Carty insists. "It's all about believing we can do it. In previous meetings against Czechs and Belgium, it was just our own mistakes that cost us the games."

Confirmation of Troy Parrott's unavailability still wasn't forthcoming from the FAI last night. The Tottenham striker's presence would have beefed up O'Brien's options but his latest injury set-back, playing in an U-23 game against Derby County on Monday, has dashed that prospect.

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