The Kilmacud Crokes man could have been a professional footballer in England and had an offer to try his luck in Australian Rules Football too, but ultimately decided instead to pursue a career in teaching and fulfil his ambition to play football for the Dubs.
“I was on soccer trials over in Blackburn and Leicester and I saw all that side of professional sport. Looking at the Dublin set-up, we’re an amateur sport but it’s just as professional a set-up,” he said.
“There might be a few little regrets about not going back over to England for trials when I was asked back over, but I think things have worked out brilliantly for me.
“I’ll hopefully have a career in teaching and I’m playing football for Dublin. I’ll have the summers off every year to concentrate on the Leinster campaign and All-Ireland series. That’s the life I’ve chosen.”
Nolan had another opportunity to get an insight into how the other half lives when he travelled with the rest of the Dublin panel to Glasgow last week to train at Glasgow Celtic’s Lennoxtown complex.
“Neil Lennon is a very nice fella,” said Gilroy. “He’s really big into the GAA and very up with what’s happening and he’d a huge interest in it. He spent five or six hours with us when we were training.
“I think he was fairly impressed with the level of intensity we were training at. When you’re looking at the soccer lads they’re doing a lot but there’s not much contact.
“We trained hard over the two days and had the use of top-class facilities which was nice for the lads. We mixed with Celtic’s coaching staff to see the way they go about things and their goalkeepers did some work with ours so it was very useful.”
Meanwhile the Wexford hurling team to play Cork shows two changes from the side defeated by Offaly last weekend, most notably the inclusion of Niall Breen in goal while Willie Doran returns from injury in place of Tomás Waters.
KILKENNY (SH v Dublin): D Herity; M Kavanagh, N Hickey, J Dalton; P Hogan, B Hogan, C Fogarty; P Murphy, E Larkin; R Hogan, M Fennelly, C Fennelly; M Ruth, E Brennan, A Fogarty.
DUBLIN (SF v Down): S Cluxton; P McMahon, P Brogan, N Devereux; K Nolan, G Brennan, D Nelson; D Bastick, B Cahill; P Flynn, K McManamon, B Cullen; A Brogan, D Connolly, T Quinn.
GALWAY (v Tipperary): C Callanan; D Joyce (c), C O’Donovan, G O’Halloran; D Barry, T Óg Regan, A Cullinane; D Burke, G Farragher; J Cooney, A Smith, C Donnellan; E Ryan, I Tannian, A Callanan.
WEXFORD (SH v Cork): N Breen; P Roche, M O’Hanlon, K Rossiter; L Prendergast, D Stamp, C Kenny; D Redmond, E Quigley; PJ Nolan, W Doran, S Banville; R Jacob, H Kehoe, J Berry.
LIMERICK (SH v Kerry): N Quaid; D Moloney, G O’Mahoney, T Condon; W McNamara, S Hickey, D Breen; D O’Grady, P Browne; N Moran, R McCarthy, J Ryan; S Tobin, K Downes, P Tobin.
DERRY (SF v Donegal): M Conlon; C Mullan, K McCloy, D McBride; G O’Kane, J O’Kane, C Kielt; PJ McCloskey, M Friel; M Lynch, S Leo McGoldrick, M Donaghy; E Muldoon, P Bradley, C Gilligan.
LAOIS (SF v Sligo): D Maher; D Booth, K Meaney, M Timmons; D Strong, S Julian, P O’Leary; P Clancy, B Quigley; C Begley, J O’Loughlin, G Kavanagh; R Munnelly, B Sheehan, MJ Tierney.
ARMAGH (SF v Galway): P McEvoy; A Mallon, B Donaghy, F Moriarty; K Dyas, C McKeever, P Duffy; K Toner, M Mackin; C Vernon, C Watters, G Swift; J Clarke, S McDonnell, J Murtagh.
GALWAY (SF v Armagh): A Faherty; A Burke, C Forde, J Duane; G O’Donnell, G Higgins, G Sice; J Bergin, F Hanley; M Clancy, O Concannon, C Kenny; F Breathnach, P Conroy, C Bane.
WESTMEATH (SF v Limerick): G Connaughton; F Boyle, K Gavin, J Gaffey; G Egan, A Finnan, D Harte; B Murtagh, D Corroon; P Sharry, David Glennon, C Lynam; P Greville, D Dolan, Denis Glennon.