After a couple of months off, our My Club and I segment is back for its first outing of 2018.
This time, Stradbally Town AFC’s Conor Brady is in the hotseat.
Conor, known as ‘Fred’, has played for Stradbally Town for over two decades.
Now into his 40s, he is still the rock at the heart of the defence competing well in Division 2 of the CCFL.
This weekend, Conor and the rest of his team-mates will hope to take on a side two Divisions above them.
The Third Round of the CCFL Cup sees Stradbally travel to the Senior Division side.
With the weather set to dry up over the weekend, there is still some hope that this game might go ahead.
And ahead of that, we caught up with the main man.
What’s your earliest soccer memory?
My earliest soccer memory would be probably the 1983 FA Cup final. I was 5 at the time and RTE always showed the cup final.
I remember Frank Stapleton and Ray Wilkins scoring in a 2-2 draw with Brighton. The replay was 1-0 to United and Norman Whiteside scored the winner. The replay was poor compared to the first game and I started to support Man United from that date to the present.
Tell us a bit about the club?
The present club was formed in 1996 and we play in the Lawn. At present, we have one Senior team in Division 2 of the CCFL and one U-17 team in Division 1 of the CCFl. The U-17 team was set up this year under the guidance of Brian Oxley and we hope it will be a feeder for the senior team.
We have had two senior teams in the past but it is difficult to have two teams in a small town who are competing with other sports as well. The committee, under the guidance of chairman James Buggy, are doing great work behind the scenes and the club is in a good financial position at present.
What are the facilities like?
The facilities are okay. We have porta-cabins at present and play in the Lawn where the Electric Picnic is held but we hope to own our own pitch in the future and develop it.
Can you remember the first time you went to compete with the club?
I went to play senior at 16-years-of-age under the old name Stradbally Celtic back in 93/94 season. We played Parkville united in the Division 1 in the Carlow League that day and I played left winger. We were managed by Eddie Wall at the time – a great soccer man. I think we won 3-2 that day.
What is your favourite memory while being involved?
My favorite memory is winning the league back in 99/00 season. We were in Division 2 of the Carlow League at the time and we won it on the last day of the season. I still remember the celebrations – great times.
Did you enjoy much success in the underage grade?
No not really. I think I won an U-12 cup final and that was it. We were in the Carlow League where St Pats and Tullow were very strong at the time.
Who did you look up to in the club when you were younger?
I looked up to Thomas Tucker Delaney, Niall Nixon Clancy, Declan Harry Lawlor and Charles O’Brien. These were all senior players and they were a great help to me as I made my way into the first team.
What young player in your club would you say is one to watch out for?
Justin Cookie Lalor has great potential and will be one to watch at present and into the future.
If you could do anything to improve the club, what would it be?
I would love to have our own facilities that we could train and develop. At the moment, we are relying on other clubs for training – especially in the winter months.
What’s the best and worst thing about being involved?
The best thing is the friendships you have and create in a club. Also just playing, I still love playing to this day and I’ve just turned 40.
The worst is probably the travelling early on a Sunday morning when you would love to lie on in bed!