Search icon


03rd May 2023

Kevin Nolan on the difference between playing club football in Dublin and Ulster

Lee Costello

“Football is a religion up there.”

Former Dublin star Kevin Nolan won a club All-Ireland title with Kilmacud Crokes in 2009 as a hard-hitting back, but now he’s mixing it up in the forward line in county Monaghan.

The 2011 All-Ireland winning star played for the mighty Dubs up until 2015, when due to injuries and complications with his diabetes, he left the panel.

As his wife is from Monaghan, he decided to up everything and move to the sticks in the north, get a job as a teacher there, and bring with him a wealth of experience and talent for his new club Cremartin,

Speaking on the GAA Hour, Nolan compares the differences between a big club in the capital, and a smaller parish in Monaghan.

Kevin Nolan

“I’m loving the area, and loving life up there – football, school, everything has sort of moved up, so really enjoying it.

“I made the transfer and luckily get the chance to play with my wife’s two brothers in the club, and in a county like Monaghan they’re mad into their football, and I just immersed myself fully into it.

“I’m still playing with them now, we’re in Intermediate it, which is a very competitive league, the quality is there, it is good, it’s intense, and Monaghan being Monaghan football, they’re hard-hitting, it’s a physical game up there, but very enjoyable.

“I’m probably carrying few more pounds now than when I was playing with Dublin, so that’s helped in the club games alright.

Kevin Nolan

“The quality is up there, moving from a club like Kilmacud Crokes with All-Ireland aspirations to an Intermediate club in Monaghan, the aspirations are still there to win championships, but you know, that competition to win titles is everywhere – Junior, Intermediate and Senior.

“Similar in Dublin, any team that wins Dublin could go on and win an All-Ireland club, we’re looking at Intermediate level now, and any team who comes out of it can challenge for Ulster club.

“That’s the aspirations of nearly any team that plays Intermediate football, that you could be in a championship final like we were a number of years ago, but unfortunately the last few years we have been in the bottom half, in a relegation play-off, but luckily stayed up.”

The differences between Ulster club football in the country, and club football in Dublin City.

Nolan has won everything there is to win at club level with his native club, so his aspirations have changed, and he hopes to achieve some success with his new home.

Kevin Nolan

However, there are some key differences between the two teams that he needed time to adjust to.

“I said I would get involved fully, and football is a religion up there. All of the schools football, the clubs, it’s a real community aspect that I maybe wouldn’t have experienced in Kilmacud Crokes.

“Just the fact that the size of the club itself compared to Cremartin, there’s 300 members in our club compared to maybe 3,500 down in Kilmacud.

Kevin Nolan

“Everyone knows everybody, something that happens on a Saturday or Sunday, people are still talking about it the following week and in these country schools, when you have maybe seven, eight or nine clubs represented in the school, a bit of craic lends itself to it.

“When things go well at the weekend, it’s all grand, but the staff members and teachers that I work with, if you go in after a good or a bad performance, you could be going in looking to put the knife in the back and slate them, but they’re just about their football.

“Everything about them, they’re driven, they’re hard hitting, when their backs are against the wall they come out fighting, and I think there’s a lot of football still to be played in the Monaghan senior football team in the All-Ireland series.”

Related links:

WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?