My GAA Life

My GAA Life with Tyrone’s Raymond Monroe

1. Which teams did you represent?

Carrickmore Football and Hurling .All age groups

UUJ Freshers and Seniors

Tyrone Football. All age groups including masters

Tyrone Hurling. All age groups

Ireland Masters Compromise Rules

2.What is your current involvement with the GAA?

No involvement other than spectator

3.What was your greatest moment in the GAA?

Has to be captaining Carrickmore to my first Senior Championship (O’Neill Cup) in 1995 after 13 years of trying.

4.What was the most surprising moment in your career?

The most surprising moment was when playing for Ireland in Compromise Rules against Australia. At the dinner after all the tests I was awarded the player of the first test by the Australian team.

5. Who was the best player you ever played with?

Very difficult question to answer. At club level there were some great players like PJ Trainor, Frank Rafferty, Aidan Loughran, Ronan McGarrity, Brian Gormley, Fergal Gormley, Seamus McCallan, Davitt McElroy and Big Oz (Plunkett McCallan).

I suppose the two players that I would always want on my team going out would be Ronan McGarrity and Brian Gormley. These two players could have impact a game.

At county level there were many as well like Ciaran McGarvey, Eugene McKenna, Kevin McCabe, Damian O’Hagan, Plunkett Donaghy, Enda Kilpatrick.

I would also say that Eugene McKenna would be the stand out player who could impact a game.

6. What was the best score you ever saw in a game you were involved in?

Ronan O’Neill’s goal against Mayo in the All-Ireland Minor semi – final 2010. The way he came, caught the high ball and turned in an instant to his left between two Mayo players and kicked the ball to the net against the grain with his left foot.

A close second would be Darragh Donnelly’s goal in that match to put us level at 3-5 to 14 points. Darragh chipped the ball up on the run on the edge of the D and soloed through to crash the ball to the net. The rest is history.

7.Which manager made the biggest impact on you and why?

Every manager I played under made some impact on me as you always learned something new from them. While not our manager, Mickey Moran came in to coach Carrickmore in 1995 when Benny Haughey approached him.

Mickey would go on to have a big impact on my coaching career as I was so interested in the way Mickey coached that I modelled a lot of what I done from what I learned from Mickey. Mickey is still producing it.

8. What was the best piece of advice you ever received about playing?

Again this was something which Mickey Moran said to me in 1995. I had been at the county dinner to collect the O’Neill cup and Carrickmore were awarded the Division 1 disciplinary award that night. At training that week I was joking with the management that it was a surprise to me that Carrickmore should win the disciplinary award but Mickey said; “Raymond, never forget that disciplined teams are winning teams.” I never forgot that advice and tried to ensure that any team I coached after that were disciplined teams. Great advice.

9.What was the best thing about playing in your era?

The best thing about playing in my era was the amount of football that was played. We would have league games and great tournament games each week. There were some great tournaments which were taken very seriously by those competing. The amount of football far outweighed the amount of training.

10.What was the worst thing about playing your era?

Peter Canavan. I think I would have a few more championship medals if he had not been about.

11. When did you know it was time to call it quits?

When the club asks you to become manager again. No I think the body tells you. I had 20 great years representing Carrickmore Seniors and I think going out on a high on 2001 with my fourth championship medal was a good time.

12. What interesting or funny story may readers not know about you or one of your former teammates?

We were playing Derry in the Ulster U21 championship at Ballinascreen one Friday evening.

Harry Brennan was our manager. The team was named but we realised we were missing our full forward which was Eddie Duffy. Harry proceeded to give the team talk without Eddie being present. Eddie entered mid way through and Harry told him to get togged out immediately and continued with his rousing team talk. Harry was interrupted by Eddie when he said, “excuse me Harry”. Harry said: “What?” Eddie said. “Harry, you wouldn’t have a spare pair of togs?”

How things have changed.

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