Sport, Style Of Play | |

Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash tells us about the magic of playing in Croke Park

‘It was a bit of a baptism of fire.’

This weekend, we are giving thousands of children will be taking part in the Littlewoods Ireland GAA Go Games Provincial Days. They will have the chance to play on the pitch of Croke Park.

Croke Park is a place like no other. It is the stadium of dreams, the headquarters of the GAA. For any GAA player, it is considered to be a highlight of your sporting career when you make it to the green grass of Croke Park.

If there is anyone who knows what it is like to play on a pitch like Croke Park, it is Cork‘s goalkeeper Anthony Nash.

He has represented both his county and his home club of Kanturk there.

What are your earliest memories of Croke Park?

In 1994, my uncles played for Limerick in an All-Ireland Final, I went to that. They lost, unfortunately, but it was still a great memory.

When was the first time you played in Croke Park?

The first time I played there was in 2012. I was a late bloomer, I never actually played minor hurling for Cork. I played in an All Ireland Semi Final against Galway in 2012, and that was my first time.

It was a bit of a baptism of fire. I was a sub for seven years with Cork, then I got my chance when we got to the Semi-Final. After being a sub for a few years, it was unreal to actually get to play.

What was it like for you personally the first time you played there?  

It was brilliant. When you are a hurler or a footballer, you want to play in Croke Park.

Do you feel that playing in Croke Park is different to other stadiums?

It would be yes. Now, the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh is very similar.

What is your favourite thing about playing in Croke Park?

It would have to be the atmosphere. The quality of the pitch is obviously unbelievable. The whole place is brilliant, especially because there is so much history associated with Croke Park. When you are there for a big occasion, it’s amazing.

We won the All-Ireland Club Intermediate Championship last year. It was massive for Kanturk to even be there.

Would you prefer to win with your club or county? 

You can’t prefer either! I would prefer to win with both! It was great to win with your friends and with the people you have grown up with.

It meant an awful lot to the Kanturk lads. Some of them had never seen Croke Park or played there before. It was great to get the supporters from home up there as well.  

What is your least favourite thing about playing in Croke Park?

Anytime you lose, it’s difficult to take. It is such a big stadium. You want the ground to open up and swallow you, rather than having 82,000 people looking down on you. So you when you lose, it becomes a very lonely place!

Who has been your toughest opponent while playing in Croke Park?  

It’s a tough one to say. We have played there many times, and we have only won a couple of times. Being honest, any of the forward lines that I come up against. I wouldn’t like to pick any of them over the other because they are all so good!

Littlewoods Ireland are proud sponsors of the GAA Go Games Provincial Days. Keep yourself up to date with all the #StyleOfPlay action on through our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts! 

Ellen McConville

Typically found on the sidelines or in Croke Park, Ellen is the Sports Content Editor for Littlewoods Ireland and your go-to gal for all things GAA. A big lover of all things Christy Moore, fashion and some wine and cheese as well.

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