The Lead Story: History makers set for All-Ireland semi-final!






The hurlers of Carrick-on-Shannon made history last November when they became the first men’s team from Leitrim to claim a provincial club championship title.

  Carrick defeated Ballygar of Galway in the AIB Connacht Junior Hurling Championship Final on a scoreline of 2-11 to 1-9. They will now face Ulster champions Castleblayney from Monaghan in Cusack Park, Mullingar in Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final with throw-in at 2 pm.

   Olcan Conway from Derry is the man in charge of the Carrick club.

  “It’s a big achievement. Carrick is the next closest club after the likes of Roscommon Gaels and Oran in Co. Roscommon so we have players from all over and some of the boys play football for Shannon Gaels and Kilmore.

  “All of our underage teams compete in Roscommon, of course, but a few years ago would have been the whipping boys! Now it’s different, they like going down and you can sense a bit of fear creeping in in Roscommon!”

  In terms of the men’s team, Olcan said Carrick had been battling away for a number of years and had reached a couple of Connacht finals in the past. The big breakthrough arrived this year though as the Connacht title made its way across the Shannon to a rapturous welcome.

  So how does a man from Derry end up managing a Connacht-conquering team in Leitrim?

  “Ah look, you know yourself, you meet a woman, you marry her and you end up living in Leitrim – it’s definitely not the worst thing I’ve ever done!” (Laughs)

  Sunday’s semi-final showdown certainly won’t need any more hype in Carrick and Castleblayney nor among members of the Glancy family. As Hughie and Tomás prepare to tog out with Carrick, brother Cian will be waiting for them among the opposition.

  From a Roscommon point of view, David McKenna, Kevin O’Dowd, Lorcan Dolan, Shane and Dessie Beirne and Cian French will be lining out for the Connacht champions, who, due to players being spread out all over Ireland, must meet in Tubber in Co. Offaly twice a week for training sessions.

  Manager Olcan is happy the waiting is over and is quietly confident of his team’s chances.

  “I’m really looking forward to it now, been a lot of waiting around since November. We’ve enjoyed it though; it’s a whole new experience playing through the winter months. There are no distractions because there’s nothing else on! We’ll give it a good rattle on Sunday, I’ve seen Castleblayney and there’s not a lot between the teams”.

  The hurling history makers from just across the border will be hoping to come back across the bridge with another scalp and plans for another big day out this Sunday evening.