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'It's hard to quantify the bond you have with guys when you've gone through so much'

Daniel St Ledger reflects on his Carlow career in the latest episode of the Warriors podcast.

Recently retired Carlow defender Daniel St Ledger.
Recently retired Carlow defender Daniel St Ledger.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

AFTER 13 SEASONS of highs and lows with Carlow footballers, Daniel St Ledger announced his decision to hang up his inter-county boots earlier this month.

The Kildavin/Clonegal clubman is this week’s guest on Warriors, the GAA podcast for members of The42.

After almost retiring in 2016, St Ledger stayed on as Carlow were swept in a wave of optimism following the arrival of Turlough O’Brien and Steven Poacher to the management team. 

All three games the 30-year-old chose came during that period.

Carlow’s 2017 qualifier defeat to Monaghan, their Leinster victory over Kildare in 2018 and their Division 4 victory over Antrim the same year that sealed promotion were the games of special significance he selected.

He reflects on the good days and the bad, explaining why the enjoyment factor was more important to him than winning medals.

“I don’t think it (inter-county football) is a chore,” said St Ledger.

“It definitely wasn’t for me. We were lucky enough to have managers who weren’t over the top with their training, recovery and meetings. It was fairly balanced. From my point of view it’s probably a little bit overplayed but I know there’s guys from different counties that will have different experiences.

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“It could be forest runs on a Sunday, gym on the Monday, more forest runs on the Tuesday and it repeats itself. That does get a bit tiresome. All lads really want is to be playing football and that’s why you love the sport. Again I can only speak for myself but I can’t say it was a bad experience.

“I have practically no medals for anything. We won an intermediate league with the club last Christmas and that was my first medal to win literally ever but that hasn’t detracted (from the experience). It’s a piece of metal. 

He continued: “It’s definitely the experiences. Some of my best friends have come because of playing with Carlow. It’s hard to quantify the bond you have with guys when you’ve gone through so much rubbish and then so many good times as well. 

“If I wasn’t enjoying it, if I wasn’t having a bit of craic with my friends, if the experience was negative it wouldn’t matter how many medals you have. At the end of the day it’s a lump of metal in your pocket. I’ve had some incredible memories and experiences.” 

Listen to the full interview by subscribing here and check out the back catalogue featuring episodes with Liam McHale, Johnny Doyle, Declan Browne, Ken McGrath, Briege Corkery, Sean McMahon and Alan Kerins. 

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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