Curran takes refreshing approach

We could grow to like these footballers turned pundits turned managers.

Curran takes refreshing approach

The copy is usually good, the honesty at times brutal.

Following Ballymun Kickhams’ All-Ireland semi-final win over Dr Crokes last month, Paul Curran came down hard on Ted Furman, who had scored the only goal of the game.

“Ted is a man to score goals, but I think Ted needs to bring something else to it as well,” he said at the time. “I don’t think it was a particularly good game from Ted.”

Ask Curran now and his opinion hasn’t changed. “I think anybody who watched the last game in particular saw Ted did all his good work in 10 minutes.

“After that, there wasn’t a whole lot and that’s what I said after the game and I’ve said it to him in the meantime that we need to get a bit more from him.

“We know what’s in him — he’s a terrific talent and hopefully we’ll see that the next day.”

Curran’s frankness in the dressing room is the same as it is outside it.

“You have to be honest with your players. I wouldn’t say anything in here (to journalists) that I wouldn’t say to them in the dressing room and they understand that.”

Mention Ballymun’s use of a sports psychologist, Irish Examiner columnist Kieran Shannon who was with them for the Dr Crokes game in Thurles, and Curran’s just as open.

“I don’t think it’s any secret. Kieran has done one or two sessions with us. I did a few things for Kieran when I was playing myself. He’s still a journalist but I did a few pieces with him and heard he’d gone back to school and qualified in sports psychology. He was working with a few basketball teams. I’m not sure had he gone into Mayo when we got him but it was just one of the inches that we look for here. He’s been excellent.”

Curran also isn’t afraid to tackle a rumour about players betting on themselves to win a game and using the money to bring home a former player from Australia for Sunday’s final.

“That’s not the story I heard,” he stressed. “The guy in question is Robert Shortall who was a terrific prospect in the club, played U21 with Dublin, was on the team that won two U21 (county) championships.

“He probably would have been the 14th member of that (U21) team to start the county final but he did two cruciates, a shoulder injury and in the end he just had to give up. I think the story is some of the friends of guys on the team had a substantial bet on one of the matches and they won a few bob and they’re bringing him back.”

Some 21 years since he featured on a Thomas Davis beaten by Dr Crokes in an All-Ireland final, Curran sees the club scene completely transformed.

“Their fitness levels are exceptional. I’d say they’re up there matching, maybe even exceeding, county lads.”

But the profile of the club game is larger too. “I think it’s a bigger animal now, the interest from the press, media, support is huge. I think that final we played in Croke Park there were only 6,000 or 7,000 at it. There’ll be a bigger crowd on Sunday.

“It’s just a bigger competition with more interest. Crossmaglen have raised the bar winning all the titles and putting so much into it. That’s what other teams have to match.”

Speaking of Crossmaglen, Curran knows how much St Brigid’s put into beating the kingpins in their semi-final. But Curran anticipates it will be a much different game on St Patrick’s Day to that semi-final.

“I don’t want to be disrespectful to the Brigid’s game but I think it’ll be more of a football match. We play football and I know they play football as well.

“A lot of people made too much about the Brigids’ tactics of slowing up and spoiling. Most teams do that and I think they just didn’t want to let the team they were playing play.”

ST BRIGID’S: S Curran; G Cunniffe, P Domican, J Murray; N Grehan, D Donnelly, R Stack; K Mannion, I Kilbride; D Kelleher, R Blaine, D Dolan; C McHugh, S Kilbride, F Dolan.

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