Cheddar Plunkett was impressed that Chris Nolan scored 1-6 from play against Kerry at the weekend but he was not surprised.
Plunkett is currently managing Nolan in his capacity as SETU Fitzgibbon Cup boss and he’s hailed the Carlow forward for his skill, enthusiasm and work-rate.
Having been the Laois manager for years, Plunkett’s delighted that instead of devising plots and plans to deal with Nolan, he’ll now for once have him in the same corner.
Nolan will lead the SETU Carlow forward line alongside the likes of Eoin Cody as they take on SETU Waterford in a local derby on Wednesday night.
Plunkett wasn’t surprised by Nolan’s form at the weekend because he’s been blown away by his scoring feats for years.
As of last March, Nolan was the sixth top scorer in Carlow hurling history with 18-217 to his name in the green, yellow and red jersey, with much of that tally having come from play.
But it’s the 26-year-old’s knack of racking up big tallies in big games that really sets him apart.
Take last year’s Joe McDonagh Cup final where he notched 0-4 from play including a last minute winner.
Or last year’s county final where he hit 1-9, 1-5 from play. Looking back, Chris Nolan’s tallies in Mount Leinster Rangers’ county finals have been nothing short of phenomenal.
He hit 0-7 in both the 2020 and 2021 finals, having hit 1-3 in 2018 and 0-3 in 2017, with these tallies all coming from play.
“It’s been a real pleasure to manage Chris, I’ve always admired him of his,” says Plunkett, who also extends the same praise to his inter-county team-mate Marty Kavanagh.
“For a couple of years of my life, I did my best to try and ensure Chris didn’t influence the game against us.”
“So before I ever knew Chris as a person, I would have rated him as a hurler as the very, very top drawer.
“But getting to know him in the last few months is how enthusiastic he is, he’s a great guy to be around.”
“He has a very, very high work-rate. He has very, clever work-rate that will influence a game and look his scoring last Sunday sums it up.”
“Having played a tough game midweek for us, and then to go down to Kerry to score 1-6, is a credit to him.
“But I’m not surprised, he’s been doing that for years. I’m delighted for Chris that Carlow are pushing on as well, and that he has the opportunity to show his talents to people.”
Nolan may not boast the reputation some of the game’s top forwards would hold, simply because Carlow don’t get the same share of the spot-light, but Plunkett holds him right up there among the highest calibre of hurlers.
“He’s a household name to me before I knew him.
“Sometimes the top counties don’t give enough to the developing counties to give them that ladder to get a bit further up on it.
“And some of the people from bigger counties mightn’t know about Chris.
“But Carlow are climbing the ladder, they won Joe Mc last year, they troubled Galway in Leinster.
“That is a credit to all the coaches in Carlow.
“I think Carlow have the strongest team now they’ve had in my time, and I’d like to compliment Tom (Mulally) on the job he’s done with them as well. Because Carlow’s base is very, very small. Cork city itself probably has quadruple the number of hurlers that Carlow has.”
“But I do think real hurling followers know all about Chris Nolan.”
- ‘Ah Jesus, how is this going to work?’ – Reid’s journey from Kilkenny’s third choice keeper to mainstay at centre back
- ‘I actually didn’t want to win it’ – Byrnes delighted Gillane won Hurler of the Year ahead of him
- 15 hurlers to watch ahead of the National League
- Peter Canavan delves into possibility of GAA introducing VAR-type system
- I hope that he is wrong” Peter Canavan on difficulty’accepting’ Mickey Harte as Derry manager
- Ciaran McFaul defends decision for Glen players to play Derry game after All-Ireland