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Curran reflects on colourful Roscommon career.

By Eanna O'Reilly


‘‘My phone has never been as busy since’’, laughs Shane Curran, referring to the reaction to his Laochra Gael documentary, which aired recently on TG4. The St. Brigid’s and Roscommon legend had a hugely positive response to his appearance on the programme, with people throughout the country subsequently contacting him to express their enjoyment. ‘‘The Laochra Gael producers are so good at what they do. They put together an excellent series and all of the episodes were really enjoyable, I thought. It was fantastic to be a part of it. My two daughters were a bit nervous alright to be on TV, but the guys from Laochra Gael handled it really well. I didn’t find it too difficult to be honest, people would say I’m always talking s**t anyway!’’


‘‘My phone has never been as busy since’’, laughs Shane Curran, referring to the reaction to his Laochra Gael documentary, which aired recently on TG4. The St. Brigid’s and Roscommon legend had a hugely positive response to his appearance on the programme, with people throughout the country subsequently contacting him to express their enjoyment. ‘‘The Laochra Gael producers are so good at what they do. They put together an excellent series and all of the episodes were really enjoyable, I thought. It was fantastic to be a part of it. My two daughters were a bit nervous alright to be on TV, but the guys from Laochra Gael handled it really well. I didn’t find it too difficult to be honest, people would say I’m always talking s**t anyway!’’





One of the most eye-catching moments in his Laochra Gael story came from the 1989 Connacht minor final against Galway. Roscommon were trailing late in the game when they were awarded a penalty, which Peadar Glennon lined up to take. Just as Glennon approached the penalty however, Roscommon’s centre forward Shane Curran came rushing through and blasted the ball to the net. ‘‘I suppose it was an unusual finish to the game alright! All’s well that ends well, but I would probably have ended up somewhere in the Amazon forest if I had missed that kick! But thankfully we won the replay and the Connacht title.’’


One of the most eye-catching moments in his Laochra Gael story came from the 1989 Connacht minor final against Galway. Roscommon were trailing late in the game when they were awarded a penalty, which Peadar Glennon lined up to take. Just as Glennon approached the penalty however, Roscommon’s centre forward Shane Curran came rushing through and blasted the ball to the net. ‘‘I suppose it was an unusual finish to the game alright! All’s well that ends well, but I would probably have ended up somewhere in the Amazon forest if I had missed that kick! But thankfully we won the replay and the Connacht title.’’


Reflecting on his own playing style, Curran plays down his perception as a character full of madness and points to the innovation of players who think outside the box. ‘‘I think when people see players trying something new, something which hasn’t been tried before on the pitch, they often just put it down to madness. But whenever a player does something inventive, that takes a lot of ability to pull off. Some of what I did was probably the start of goalkeepers taking free kicks and penalties or coming out the field at times. I had played a lot out the field when I was younger, so I had the ability to come out with the ball. The way I took the kick outs then, it just made sense to me. What keepers always did for years was to just boot the ball 60 yards straight up the field. I never saw any sense in that. I guess a lot of what I did in the early 2000s is being done by all keepers now.’’




Curran identifies a very strong era for Roscommon in terms of playing personnel, between 1998 and 2005. Unfortunately, it was characterised by underachievement in Curran’s eyes, when the team failed to achieve its full potential. ‘‘Talent wise, I fully believe we were in the top six teams in the country at the time. If we had been managed and developed properly, I think there’s no reason why we couldn’t have been another Armagh or Tyrone in that era. You need a lot of things to go right for you. Consistently good management, the county board, the players themselves, have to drive it on at all times. We had a lot of managerial changes. In fairness, Tommy Carr brought a great level of professionalism to the set-up. We had a great run through the qualifiers in 2003 and had a great chance to beat Kerry in the Quarter Final. The only thing we were missing was the self-belief. We hadn’t developed that as a group, the way Galway or Mayo would naturally have it. We had great chances against Kerry in ’03 and Dublin in ’04, but the level of belief we needed just wasn’t quite there.’’


Naturally, Curran has negative feelings about the way his county career ended, with controversial manager John Maughan dropping him from the Roscommon panel in late 2005. Having captained the county under Tommy Carr, Curran was arguably at the peak of his career when the new manager let him go, along with his club mate and fellow Roscommon legend Frankie Dolan.


Naturally, Curran has negative feelings about the way his county career ended, with controversial manager John Maughan dropping him from the Roscommon panel in late 2005. Having captained the county under Tommy Carr, Curran was arguably at the peak of his career when the new manager let him go, along with his club mate and fellow Roscommon legend Frankie Dolan.


Curran’s most cherished memory from his entire playing career occurred on St. Patricks Day in 2013, when his club St. Brigid’s became the first Roscommon club to win a senior All-Ireland. It had been a long journey for Curran, having joined the club in 1998, after transferring from his native Castlerea. ‘‘It took us a long time to break through in Roscommon. We were knocking on the door for years, getting closer and closer until 2005, when we won the championship. We had a great run then (winning six county titles in eight years) and went on to win four Connacht titles as well (2006, ’10, ’11, ’12). By the time 2012 came, we were well in contention (for an All-Ireland).’’



Curran credits the management of Kevin McStay and Liam McHale as being a crucial component in St. Brigid’s run to the All-Ireland title that year. ‘‘In 2012 Kevin and Liam came in. We just needed something to take us to the next level and they definitely brought something extra. We got through the county championship and the Connacht championship, playing really, really well. I felt at that stage it would take a great team to beat us. We beat Crossmaglen (In the semi-final) and then we came up against Ballymun. We made a terrible start, but we had great experience in the team, and we dragged our way back into it. Frankie (Dolan) kicking the winning point, it was special. We had soldiered for so long together, we had great respect for each other. It was a great moment. I was nearly forty-two years old when I won that All-Ireland. Looking back now, it was a brilliant achievement, which people all over Roscommon took great pride in.’’



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