GAA Football

'A Brolly with holes in it isn't much use' says Carlow boss O'Brien

Carlow manager Turlough O'Brien hit out at criticism of his team's style of play from football pundit Joe Brolly

CARLOW boss Turlough O'Brien has hit back strongly at criticism from RTE pundit Joe Brolly over their style of play.

The Dungiven man has slammed the Barrowsiders for being defensive and negative but O'Brien, after their Championship exit against Tyrone on Saturday, said:

"A lot of people seem to think that Carlow play a terrible style of football… If you looked at the match and you saw 10 Tyrone men behind the ball, as often as you saw that in the Carlow half, you could see how difficult it is to play direct football…

"Let's be honest about it, Joe Brolly has had a right pop at Carlow for the last few weeks, but there's a lot of holes in Brolly's argument. And a Brolly with holes in it isn't much use."

Asked about these holes, O'Brien expanded: "He's talking about Carlow being a defensive team but look at the scores we got over the National Football League, we're one of the top-scoring teams in the National Football League, we're the top goal-scoring team in the National Football League [with 10 goals] so I think those facts stand up against any argument about how we play the game."

When it's pointed out that Carlow scored just 1-3 from play against Tyrone, O'Brien replied: "Yeah, but look it why did we get frees? Lads were fouled going in. They were scoring opportunities anyway. You can take that whatever way you like but we're very happy and proud of our lads.

"We were very, very competitive…we play within the rules of the game, so we do. And we play football to win.

"We're not here to entertain Joe Brolly or the likes of Joe Brolly. If he wants to come down here..."

O'Brien then went on to ridicule the former Derry star's involvement with Antrim footballers a decade ago, recalling: "Joe Brolly was forwards coach with Antrim in 2008, they were in contention for promotion – then they got seven points against Waterford, eight points against Tipperary to lose promotion from Division Four under Joe Brolly's brilliant tutelage! So there you go now. You can tell him that one."

O'Brien concluded by pointing to his county's fortunes now compared to just over a decade ago, when they were humiliated in the 2007 Tommy Murphy Cup: "Carlow had Waterford in the Tommy Murphy Cup, 8-10 to seven points we were beaten, we're here today playing a top team, we're promoted to Division Three and we're very proud.

"You guys haven't been to Carlow too often but if you'd been here over the last 10 years and seen how difficult it's been for Carlow, how hard it's been to get players to come into the county team when you're being beaten Sunday after Sunday when you go out, it's very, very hard to motivate players to want to play for your county.

"But we've turned it on its head, let's be honest about it. Carlow are a breath of fresh air. I think we've brought great colour, literally, to the football pitches of the country. And we're in Division Three next year for the first time in a long time…The journey is underway. We're not near the destination yet."

Asked how much criticism has annoyed him, he said rather wearily: "Ah, look it, empty vessels make the most noise. Look it, 90 per cent of the coverage that Carlow got has been fantastic, we really appreciate it. I suppose the professional journalists, I have to say, have been excellent."

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