Carlow attacker Paul Broderick has backed boss Turlough O’Brien’s claim that the Division 4 outfit has every right to take on the top teams in the Championship.
Broderick was yesterday named GAA/GPA Player of the Month for May, another success story from a memorable summer that saw Carlow play five Championship games for the first time since 2001.
They beat Division 4 sides in three of those games — Wexford, London, and Leitrim — but also gave Dublin and Monaghan, two Division 1 teams, major scares.
Dublin were just four points ahead when Carlow talisman Brendan Murphy was shown a red card, which was later rescinded, in the Leinster Championship while they actually led Monaghan with 10 minutes to go in their qualifier game.
The performances flew in the face of suggestions they should be packed off to a B championship for weaker counties.
Barrow boss O’Brien said it’s “outrageous” to suggest that Carlow shouldn’t compete with the top sides and admitted the suggestion “sickens” him.
The experienced Broderick agreed and said: “We’ve players, and I could name plenty of them; the likes of Sean Murphy, Brendan Murphy, Sean Gannon, they’re good enough to be on any county team.
“They want to test themselves against the top players and there wouldn’t have been the opportunity to play the All-Ireland champions or Monaghan, a side that won two Ulster titles in recent years, if that B championship was there.
“We didn’t set out to win any All-Irelands at the start of this year, we were realistic enough to know that wasn’t going to happen for us, but it was a huge carrot to beat Wexford, knowing we would get to play Dublin, and we pulled it off.
“On a different day, the Monaghan result could have been different. They certainly weren’t far enough away from us to say that we didn’t deserve to be there. That would be my counter argument.
“And that’s only with one year of trying something that we have tried. I’m not saying we’ll automatically progress and be better next year but it would certainly give us belief in Carlow that with more work on the system, and if we keep all our players and maybe get some more in, that we can be competitive against teams that are from higher divisions.”
Broderick has an intriguing back story as he’s been playing for Carlow for over a decade now without his spleen.
That organ was removed following a freak injury in a club game as a teenager that forced him to postpone his Leaving Certificate exams by a year at the time.
The Tinryland man said: “It was just an innocuous elbow that I got, it just felt like I was winded but turned out to be more,” Broderick said. “That was a Sunday evening at the start of May and I was delighted because I was getting a day off from school. Later that night, that Sunday night, I woke up in pain and went for the operation. Six months later I was dying to play again.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved