Coolderry's story tells the real truth about GAA amalagamations 5 months ago

Coolderry's story tells the real truth about GAA amalagamations

Wherever possible, that's the way it should be.

Coolderry is a small area and there aren't too many people living there. A familiar rural tale, it's one of those places where every single youngster in the parish has been lined up by the GAA club well before they've become big enough to even hold a hurl.

But Coolderry isn't just any rural GAA club.

They've won more county titles than any other rural club ever has and only three clubs in the whole of Ireland have won more county titles in their history than they have.

They have breeding and they have tradition.

Not unlike Longford's success story St Columba's Mullinalaghta, Coolderry have made a habit out of punching above their weight and though they didn't match Mullinalaghta's Leinster heroics this year, they weren't far off it.

Despite being written off as they usually are, they had the better of mighty Ballyboden in the semi-final only for a referee playing a few extra-minutes to force a draw.

Not even that could finish them off, Ballyboden needing two more periods of extra-time to finally shake off the Offaly kingpins.

But what's the secret to their success, what makes them so united and what makes them so hard to beat?

One of their best ever players Brian Carroll was speaking on The GAA Hour Show recently and he talked about tradition, he talked about pride and he talked about the club.

Coolderry are a club who will always test themselves. If the choice is between an A and B championship, they're going for the hard road. If they can by any possible means avoid amalgamating, that's what they'll do.

"We always compete where we can at A grade. We very rarely knock on the door of winning championships and we don't tend to amalgamate with anyone," he said.

"Even up to under-21, we'd be struggling with numbers again and a lot of teams like that join up, but we continue to stay on our own...So we think that stands to our boys, to learn perseverance more than anything else."

They might only have 17 players but they'll fight the hard fight. That builds bonds, that builds club spirit.

"They've learned the hard way, how to keep going in matches and when you're looking for them to perform on big days...You know these lads are used to it and they're used to putting their shoulder to the wheel...They know from a very young age that you have to keep going."

"It is our tradition. We pride ourselves on this, we've won a county title in every single decade bar the 90s...We don't win a lot underage, it's all about building for the senior team, we have that tradition and we have that belief that we can keep going," he said.

Some clubs are worse off than Coolderry and can't possibly stay on their own, but it just shows that you should still try as hard as you can.

You can listen to the inspiring Carroll interview here.