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'I kind of felt guilty coming in because Michael and John were two brilliant players'

Galway dual star Alan Kerins is this week’s guest on our GAA podcast Warriors.

Alan Kerins and Michael Donnellan won All-Ireland medals together with Galway.
Alan Kerins and Michael Donnellan won All-Ireland medals together with Galway.
Image: INPHO

WE’RE PUTTING ONE of the great dual GAA careers in the spotlight this week as Galway’s Alan Kerins is our guest on Warriors, the GAA podcast for The42 members.

We asked Alan to pick his three favourite GAA games from a career that featured a long spell in Galway hurling colours as they chased the Liam MacCarthy Cup, All-Ireland club wins in different codes with Clarinbridge and Salthill-Knocknacarra, and an unlikely role in Galway’s Sam Maguire success in 2001.

The remarkable story behind his call up to the Galway football squad is explored. Alan was parachuted into the starting side for a Connacht quarter-final against Leitrim before having ever played a senior club football game and that sparked a controversy that saw Michael Donnellan and his brother John quit the squad.

“I was catapulted in out of the blue, a hurler from nowhere. They didn’t tog or travel for the Leitrim game so there was a big furore.

alan-kerins-digital Galway footballer Alan Kerins Source: INPHO

“I kind of felt guilty coming in because Michael and John were two brilliant players. John O’Mahony showed some courage and some faith, it was a brave decision. I’ll never forget going out to that game. I used to get nervous but I used to love it but that game I was really, really anxious about it because there was a whole furore and media kerfuffle about what was going on because Michael was one of the greatest footballers of all time, from ’98 he was a superstar and he wasn’t involved.

“I’ll never forget going into Tuam that day and you nearly were thinking people were coming to see you fail or coming just to see were you any good. I hadn’t experienced that kind of external focus on me. You were kind of feeling guilty for what was happening. I did okay, I kicked two points and we went on and won the All-Ireland.

“I just remember it was a really strange and chaotic few weeks.”

Alan talks about the rest of that successful summer with the return of the Donnellan brothers, how that Galway dressing-room was filled with so many great players and characters, and the Cavan lads in Trinity College that ignited his Gaelic football interest.

alan-kerins-celebrates-with-manager-michael-donoghue Alan Kerins celebrating Clarinbridge's 2011 All-Ireland club success with Micheal Donoghue

There’s plenty hurling chat as well. How Alan felt his Clarinbridge club-mate Micheal Donoghue would achieve managerial greatness, what it was like after breaking John Mullane’s heart in one of the greatest club matches of all time in 2011 and the feeling of being ‘at peace’ in Croke Park at age of 34 knowing he was about to win an All-Ireland medal.

You can listen to the full interview with Alan on the podcast by subscribing to members.the42.ie. 

Check out episodes from our back catalogue featuring documentaries on Wexford’s 1996 hurling season, Leitrim’s football success in 1994, and interviews with Waterford’s Ken McGrath and Tipperary’s Declan Browne.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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