‘We played him under the name Brendan Amond one night’ – from Carlow minor hurler to FA Cup hero

TOMMY BUGGY WATCHED on with interest as the action unfolded on Sunday afternoon at Rodney Parade.

Padraig Amond featured for the Carlow minor hurlers in 2006.

Source: INPHO/PA

In a frantic finale he saw Newport County’s striker keep his cool to slot home the penalty that toppled Leicester City and secured the headline giant-killing act of the early January FA Cup action.

And Buggy took some personal satisfaction in Padraig Amond’s achievement, reflecting on the sporting journey travelled by one of the players from the Carlow 2006 minor hurling side that he managed.

“He’s a good chap, a really lovely chap,” says Buggy.

“I’d still be in touch with him on Twitter and keeping an eye on how he does. It’s funny, my young fella Sean used to come all those matches with me when he was seven or eight.

“Then he has ended up in college with Padraig’s brother Aaron. They’re in Maynooth, the two of them are hurling with Maynooth at the moment. It’s a small world.

“I watched him Sunday, I love soccer and I would have played it all my life. I’d say he definitely did 12-15k during the game. His work-rate was unreal. He put in some shift.”

Padraig Amond celebrating his goal for Newport County against Leicester City.

Source: PA Wire/PA Images

When Kilkenny native Buggy moved to take the reins of the Carlow minor hurlers, he immediately identified Amond as a talent he wanted to utilise.

“At the time Carlow hurling was frowned upon a little bit. There was a guy came before me, Eoin Garvey, and he’d won a couple of B All-Irelands with him, then I took over and won a B All-Ireland. I insisted to the county board that we go into A. Padraig would have won a minor B All-Ireland in 2005 with us. We knew we had a good bunch.”

The 2006 season was their time in the spotlight. They caused a tremor in the Leinster hurling landscape by taking down Offaly in a semi-final, Amond hitting 1-4 from full-forward that day in Portlaoise.

Gracing the Leinster final stage was a major step forward, even if the day was a tough one as they collided with a powerful Kilkenny outfit. Richie Hogan was serving notice of his talent in striking 2-10 while Paul Murphy and Colin Fennelly were also starting out on the inter-county trail.

Richie Hogan in action for Kilkenny against Carlow in the 2006 Leinster minor decider.

Source: Andrew Paton/INPHO

Their campaign concluded at the quarter-final stage against eventual champions Tipperary, who were packed with future senior stars. Amond scored 0-2 while marked by Padraic Maher in a game in Nowlan Park.

“In the quarter-final that year we were three points down just before half-time and Padraig broke through and he struck the bar. The ball rebounded, Tipp went down the field and got a goal. Instead of going in level, we went in six down.

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“He was a very good chap. Great attitude, great application and what he had that a lot of young lads don’t have is he was willing to learn all the time. To take instruction and try and learn and improve all the time.”

It was always clear to Buggy what Amond’s sporting destination was. He was juggling Carlow minor football and hurling roles that summer, while also on the books at Shamrock Rovers.

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In order to utilise the talents of a player in demand, the Carlow management were creative.

“We didn’t always have him when we wanted him but we had him most of the time and we had him when we needed him. We actually played him in a game – it wasn’t championship, it was some league game – we played him under the name Brendan Amond one night. We hadn’t seen much of him and we needed to get a game into him to get a look at him.

“I suppose it’s alright to say it now! We did play him under an assumed name alright. He was signed for Shamrock Rovers at that stage and he was going to make a career at that level at least if not further afield which he went on to do.

Padraig Amond (left) in action for Shamrock Rovers in 2006.

Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO

“I was never going to stand in his way that time. He was the sort of chap and he came from the sort of family that they gave us everything we could while we were with them. I was never going to suggest he do anything other than soccer.”

Amond’s ability to forge a soccer career for himself  has not surprised Buggy. Sunday’s goal was his 15th of this season for the League Two outfit and came on the back of last year’s strike in the FA Cup against Tottenham. Last night’s fourth round draw presents them with an away trip to face Middlesbrough at the end of the month.

His progress has enthused his former Carlow minor boss, just like the development of others. A bunch of that team lined out on the senior stage for Carlow with players like Richie Coady and Denis Murphy backboning the Mount Leinster Rangers team that embarked on a wonderful journey to the All-Ireland club decider in 2014.

Richard Coady (left) in action against Portumna in the 2014 All-Ireland senior club final.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“When you coach teams for years and I have now at this stage, even I still have an underage team in my own club (Erin’s Own in Castlecomer) every year, and you see young fellas making a go of life and making a go of things at whatever they try to do, you’d have a little bit of pride in them.

“You’d always say that you knew him and gave him some bit of a hand out. I could name another 100 kids that I’d be as proud of.

“He’s getting a bit of news now and grabbing the headlines and more power to him. I’m delighted for him, Jaysus I am.

“He was just one of those young fellas that was very talented. I’d say if he took up pole vaulting in the morning, he’d be good at it.”

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