'I'd written off the year': Paul Broderick's renewed hope for GAA action

So you’re saying there’s a chance?
'I'd written off the year': Paul Broderick's renewed hope for GAA action
Carlow footballer Paul Broderick: I’d always be of the mind that it would be easier to keep up my fitness than try and get it back if the football got going again.
Carlow footballer Paul Broderick: I’d always be of the mind that it would be easier to keep up my fitness than try and get it back if the football got going again.

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

That’s all that Paul Broderick wanted. An opportunity to play football again this season, be it club or county.

Because for a good while there, he had steeled himself for the worst case scenario from a strictly play.

“Things today sound more positive than two days ago and we might begin to see things reopening again soon.

"To be honest, I had written off going back at all this year because the GAA hadn’t come out and said anything for awhile at the start. I was going by that.”

At 33, Broderick wouldn’t be quick to condemn a year to the scrapheap and a part of him hadn’t given up. All the while he had been maintaining his fitness to the extent that he feels better than ever,

“Initially, when nobody knew what was happening, we were being sent stuff to do voluntarily. I’d always be of the mind that it would be easier to keep up my fitness than try and get it back if the football got going again.

“I’d said cardio-wise I’m fitter than I’ve ever been. I met Turlough (O’Brien) cycling the Barrow while I was out for a run and I told him that.

"He was laughing but we were saying that when you’re able to run four or five days a week, run in straight lines, able to go hard at it and are not taking any belts and therefore not picking up injuries it’s enjoyable.

“You can do things at your own time. Not that you’re hanging around for training during the season but you’d be in a bubble and it’s only when you’re out of it that you realise it.

“If I do have another year or two left me with Carlow, I want to keep to a standard so it won’t be difficult to go back.”

What comes back first — club or county — he has no preference. Obviously, he is training with county in mind but there’s a large part of him that wants to get back going with Tinryland too.

“On the county side of things, even for an amateur organisation you would probably be able to test players coming in and out. I don’t know if they would be able to do it for both training and games.

“But at the same time I wouldn’t like to see the club pushed into being second best. The last few years I haven’t really got out to my club half as much as I would like to. I love the place and I love being around the place but I feel very detached from it.

“I was made captain a couple of years ago and it’s difficult even if a couple of summers for Carlow have finished a little earlier than we would have hoped for.

"I wasn’t really missed by the club the first few years I played with the county because you’d pop in for the odd session because you’d be with the county two days a week.

"I wouldn’t like to see the club lose out at the expense of the county but there would be better structures available for testing and other things at county level.”

Broderick’s fellow Carlow man, GAA director general Tom Ryan, confirmed this past weekend that the Tailteann Cup would be parked for this year. Broderick initially wasn’t a fan of it but had reconciled with the idea of playing in it.

“I was against us being put into the B because of our status in Division 4. I would like to see more games in it. I have come around to looking forward to, would you believe? I wasn’t expecting us to be in it because we’d lose to Offaly but based on statistics from previous years you could say, ‘Jesus, we’d have a right good go at that.’”

A teacher in Heywood Community School in Laois, local rivalries were well and truly parked when Broderick and fellow Carlow players got behind the Do It For Dan charity drive in aid of former Laois footballers Aisling and Niall’s son.

“I’d have always said the GAA community was strong but the Do It For Dan fundraiser just blew me away. Rivalries were put aside because in those circumstances, those type of things don’t matter and the GAA row in together.

"Please God, Dan gets the treatment that keeps him alive and a better quality of life. It was amazing.

“It’s been great to see that and lots of clubs around the county helping others. What strikes me about the GAA is the amount of people who didn’t realise how much of it had taken up their lives whether it was watching it on telly or playing it, coaching it.

“I was playing golf with a friend of mine, Billy O’Loughlin, who was over the Laois U20s last year, and he was saying how he couldn’t believe how much of his life that the GAA was taking up. Like, if you’ve a free day you would go to a game or watch one on TV.

"It’s when it’s gone that you understand how much it means.”

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