Last week, Shane Curran tweeted a message to Colm Cooper after he had featured in an AIB “The Toughest” promotion for the club championships: “Good man Goochie and I will tell ya boy it’s going to get a whole lot tougher.”
Might he have been alluding to Dr Crokes and St Brigid’s being on a collision course for an All-Ireland semi-final next February?
Knowing the 42-year-old as we do, we can make an educated guess that it was the latest act of devilment from the goalkeeper.
He was just as mischievous when casting his gaze on the odds of the other Connacht semi-final between Castlebar Mitchels and Corofin earlier this month.
It puzzled him how much Corofin were fancied not only to win the game but dethrone St Brigids, making up for their controversial 2011 final loss, and possibly replicate their capturing of the Andy Merrigan Cup.
Curran wouldn’t say he took offence to it but made a bit of money off the back of the Mayo champions.
“Maybe not for people from the outside looking in but I thoroughly expected Castlebar to go to Tuam and beat Corofin. A lot of the experienced players in the Brigid’s side also expected that.
“When teams are built up like Corofin to win a Connacht championship and possibly win an All-Ireland there was always going to be the possibility of a banana skin.
“We played Castlebar a week before Mayo made the All-Ireland and they were obviously without their inter-county players. They almost beat us and if you put the three Mayo players into that team they would have.
“I actually got a grand price in the bookies at 7/2 so I put a few quid on them to win. We’ll treat them the way they deserve to be treated. No bad team ever came out of Mayo.”
Curran will stand between the posts in Hyde Park tomorrow having travelled to Iraq in recent weeks with his company Global Flood Solutions.
Convention has never been a friend of his: “I’m very lucky that I’ve a great partner in Ger Brennan in the GFS group. He takes a lot of the weight off my shoulders.
“Time management is important but I’m lucky enough that I’m in a job that allows me to take trips and it doesn’t impede on the football and allows me to keep the body right and getting to training.
“I’m doing something I love both in business and in football and why wouldn’t I make the time? Benny [O’Brien] and the management have been very good to me, to allow me to train as best as I possibly can.”
Last March he was emotional when surrounded by his children as he spoke to the press in the bowels of the Hogan Stand. He spoke of perhaps stepping aside but his urge wasn’t sated.
“It can be topped again,” he says of that dramatic win over Ballymun Kickhams. “We’re a driven team and I’ve always said you’ve one chance at life and you should enjoy it. Football for me is part of that enjoyment.
“I love going training and I love the players I’m playing with. We’ve great fun, great old craic and what else would you be doing? Sitting at home on the couch and the missus wanting to kick you out, which my wife does most of the time. She’s delighted I’m playing and the kids are delighted as well.
“It’s great to have health first and foremost and to be able to do it and to do it well for as you can then that’s just an added bonus.”
St Brigid’s have been blessed by what Curran sees as a seamless transition from Kevin McStay to O’Brien. “We’re just very lucky both have very similar personalities, very educated both on and off the pitch and get on with people.”
But it’s the replenishment in personnel that Curran believes has St Brigid’s plotting a similar path to last season.
“What has really given us the impetus is the injection of youth into the team. Lads like Niall McInerney, Richie Blaine coming back to us from America has been a great plus for us over the last couple of weeks. Pádraig Kelly can concentrate on the football now that the hurling is over, Johnny Murray is back en vogue, young Gleeson is playing brilliantly for us, and Eddie Egan.
“These young guys have come in and really stepped up for the players who have gone to America, emigrated or are away with the army. We’re lucky that we have those players to step up.”
They’ve excelled in comprehensive wins over Tourlestrane and St Mary’s but it’s been some time since St Brigid’s were last given a game.
“Our hardest tests funnily enough came in Roscommon. The Sligo and Leitrim champions weren’t at the requisite level to give us competition.
“On Sunday that will be gone out the window. We’re preparing for what’s the biggest game of the year now.”
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