"It descended into a bit of a farce" - Brian Carroll sums up craziest game of hurling in a long time 8 months ago

"It descended into a bit of a farce" - Brian Carroll sums up craziest game of hurling in a long time

Coolderry were favourites to be relegated from the Offaly championship at the start of the year.

An ageing team who'd had their day, they thought. They're going down, they said.

They went out and won the Offaly championship, beating Kilcormac/Killoughey in the final by six. How's that?

Fast forward a couple of months Coolderry are being written off again.

It's the Leinster semi-final against Ballyboden St Enda's and the rank outsiders going into it are down by seven at half time and they're deeper than six foot under this time.

But Brian Carroll always believed and Coolderry always believed and when everybody believes, it's a very powerful thing.

"I told the boys at half-time, I told them we'd score three goals, and I said it could take us until the 63rd minute until we get the goal,"Β he said on Thursday's GAA Hour Show.

Then again, when you've Brian Carroll hurling a proverbial north Dublin storm, it's always that bit easier to believe.

"It actually worked out exactly as I spoke at half-time.Β I mean that, we really believed in ourselves, yes they were on fire up front, Basquel in particular but we play until the final whistle and that's the way we approached it

"So while from the outside it may look like a smash and grab, that's the way we approached that game. We knew it would go to the wire," he added.

It went down to the wire and when it reached what should have been the last wire on the fence, Coolderry were ahead. Those three words hadn't been said all day but a Carroll goal quickly followed by a Kevin Connolly point gives them a one point lead three minutes into the three minutes of injury time.

Then, the referee Justin Heffernan finds three more minutes of added time from somewhere nobody knows, gives Ballyboden a dubious free to level it and the game has jumped out through that wire and found another one.

Brian Carroll doesn't have sour grapes. He's seen enough and he's been around long enough for that but he still feels aggrieved and so do Coolderry.

"It's very hard now this morning to make sense of that. It looked like we were dead and buried loads of times but we showed loads of perseverance and great heart and bottle.

"We almost thought we had them pipped in normal time, to be fair it was the only time we led in the whole game, we thought we had it - but the referee found an extra three minutes out of somewhere that we don't know where we got them out of."

"We felt a little bit aggrieved at that stage but we had to suck it up and go back out for extra-time again. Again it looked like they had us beaten, but we got a goal out of somewhere and went into extra, extra-time. It just got crazy at that stage and there were a lot of tired bodies and tired minds and it just descended into a bit of a farce," he said.

The Dublin champs went onto win after an almighty slug-fest and Carroll deserves credit for being so gracious in defeat.

"In fairness to Ballyboden, you have to hold your hand up, they got the most scores and I always say that, the team that gets the most scores and is winning, they deserve to win at the end of the day."

But those three minutes of added time cost Coolderry, and nobody really knows why or where they came from, not even the players who were playing.

"Yeah he made no announcement but he made an indication to the linesman and I know that because I was very close to him when he did it, he indicated three minutes. Our wing back clarified it with him and he said it was three minutes...somehow, he found six."

"That's one thing, I don't want to sound like I've sour grapes - I believe the best team won it but I suppose the big question is how we've not gone to the hooter, similar to ladies football and other sports. Referees have so much going on and it's very clear that we're playing to the clock," he said.

Never has a man had a more eventful game than Carroll who ended his day with 2-16 to his name and with a red card.

"It was just one of those days, everything seemed to click. I nearly got a goal before I was sent off too, I went off with a cramp, I got a bat on the ball and it just went out by the post, it would have been a sweet one to get it in," he said.

The red card decision was a strange one too.

"Aw look, myself and Conal Keaney clashed and another guy came in and I kind of pushed a guy off me aggressively into the ribs...Keaney got a yellow and I got a red...Strange decision, that he got a yellow and I got a red. I couldn't understand that decision to be honest..."

The swings and the roundabouts of a game of hurling.

You can listen to the Carroll interview, the Kevin Cassidy and much more from Monday's GAA Hour Show here.