After a season of highs and lows, Cork Minor star Brian Turnbull returned to his club, Douglas GAA, as the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Star Hurler of the Year .
The leaving cert student was the outstanding performer in this season's Electric Ireland GAA Minor Championship, but suffered All-Ireland Final defeat at the hands of Galway. Turnbull scored 1-07 in the Croke Park showpiece. The Douglas star also scored 13 points in a Man of the Match display in the semi-final win over Dublin for a total of 1-51 for the Championship season.
As the Minor star returned to his club a major hero, Electric Ireland spoke to some of those people who influenced Brian as he grew up within the club and heard what makes Douglas GAA club so special to him and all the members including Cork All-Ireland winner Eoin Cadogan and Cork Minor Manager Denis Ring.
Having been sponsor of the GAA All-Ireland Minor Championships since 2012, Electric Ireland has committed to continuing the partnership until 2021. Throughout the course of the partnership, Electric Ireland has been re-defining what it means to be a Minor in GAA with the This Is Major campaign, designed to empower young players, ensuring they feel driven to compete, improve and to strive for more in their sporting lives.
Special. From speaking to those in the club who grew up with Caolan, those that were his friends, his teammates, there is a desire to find a word to sum him up, but there isn’t one word alone that can do him justice. Special is a close as it comes and even that comes nowhere close to summing up Caolan.
This past week marked six years since the passing of Caolan. In his 18 years on this planet, Caolan left behind a legacy that people who live five times as long could only hope to replicate.
From a sporting point of view, it was very apparent early on, that we had got a gem. Following in the footsteps of his brothers Odhran and Eanna, Caolan joined the street leagues and made an immediate impression. His friend Brian Cuthbert, recalls a time representing Sligo in Under 9 hurling, when someone who he didn’t know was dominating the game. It was his first interaction with Caolan and on this particularly hot day, he remembers this guy with an unusual name, getting stuck in and taking control of the game. Not one to hold back, Caolan, did as he always did and gave his everything, resulting in the heat eventually getting the better of him and he crouched down in exhaustion. Water bottles weren’t necessarily the norm for Street leagues at the time, so one of the coaches asked the parents if anyone had a drink. One of the fathers duly stepped up and after Caolan had taken a few drinks, he was ready to go again. Brian, also feeling the heat went looking for a drink but was told he would have to wait until he worked as hard Caolan before he deserved one. Even in Street Leagues, Caolan set standards.
Personally, I struggle to remember much from my street league days, yet Caolan made such an impression, everyone remembers him from this time. Whether it was Caolan being able to convince Daithi Curtin’s parents to allow him to join the Street Leagues or Caolan, taking the unprecedented step of playing for the age above him as well as his own age on Saturday mornings, resulting in him collecting two trophies on Finals day, something that kids could only dream of, Caolan always had a positive impact.
Caolan’s sporting brilliance continued through the underage ranks. It was mentioned a lot over the last week, that Caolan always had an air of confidence about him. Nothing seemed to faze him. When someone from the ‘Barrs started throwing his weight around in an underage championship game, other players seemed reluctant to take a stand. Not Caolan. He may have been one of the smallest fellas on the pitch that day, but it didn’t stop him standing up for his teammates, taking a stand, and quieting down the brash opponent.
Caolan was blessed with the Mulrooney sidestep. Another teammate and friend of Caolan’s, Alan Cadogan remembers the ‘iconic’ sidestep. It doesn’t seem to be something you can teach, but it is something each of the Mulrooney children and likely the parents have. Caolan perfected it.
It was impossible not to like Caolan. Martin Barry recalls a challenge game up in Urlingford one time. Martin, as he tends to be, was intense about the challenge ahead and expected to be named centre back. When the team was announced, Caolan was named to the number six position, as he so often was, so Martin had a word with him before the game. “Don’t be going running up the field and trying to score now and making me look bad from the times, I played Centre Back ,” Martin pleaded. There was almost a smirk on Caolan’s face, every time he got the ball. At one point, Caolan ran the length of the field and slotted a score from 20 metres out. As Caolan ran back to his position Martin, was absolutely bulling. As he went to give Caolan a piece of his mind after the game, a huge grin broke out on Caolan’s face. He would back his teammates up no matter what, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t wind them up whenever he got the chance as well. Martin, failed at stayed angry with Caolan and the two of them laughed about it all the way back to Cork.
Centre back was the position that Caolan made his own. Likely the most difficult position on the pitch to play, Caolan was able to excel there. It was the position he played in the Minor County final. Douglas were beaten that day, but as he always did, Caolan performed. The number six jersey seemed to be huge on him, but no challenge ever seemed too big for him. After Caolan’s passing the club decided it would not use the number six jersey at Minor level for the foreseeable future to honour Caolan. When Douglas captured the Minor football title in 2013, the centre back that day, wore the number 26. The same when we won the Minor Hurling Title in 2015. Shane Donegan lined out at centre back wearing 26. Those attending the game, not from Douglas, may have found it strange, but everyone in the club knew that Caolan was still there with us. Still fighting alongside us, like he always did.
As I spoke to people this week about Caolan, there seems to be one frustration. There is a frustration that they can't find the words to accurately represent Caolan the way they still see him. Passionate, confident, friendly, genuine, positive, centre of attention, friend. These are all words that are used to describe him and yet everyone seems feel those words alone are not enough. Special. Special is as close as we can come. Simply put Caolan was special. He had a way about him that he would treat everyone the same. It didn’t matter whether you were the most popular kid, or the quietest, Caolan seemed to be friends with everyone. He was always there for his friends. To this day, a number of them still wear wristbands with his name on it. It’s their way of keeping someone who meant so much to them, close.
A person like Caolan will never be forgotten. Whether its seeing someone dominating the centre back position in Douglas colours, watching his sisters Seosai and Muiread play camogie, watching his brothers Odhran and Eanna when they eventually come back to Cork and resume playing with the club, seeing someone with the ‘Caolan’ wristband or seeing his parents Eugene and Margaret, we will remember Caolan. He touched people in a way that makes those that knew him thankful to have had the opportunity. He will live on in our memories, in our club until we get to see him again. Forget icon of the week, Caolan was just an icon, a legend. He was special.
*New Year, New Opportunity*
In 2018 If your looking to
Improve fitness ✅
Improve strength ✅
Improve posture ✅
Improve mobility/stability ✅
Feel and look better ✅
Improve your knowledge of training and nutrition ✅
Looking for a challenging workout where you are coached on correctly performing exercises and your progress is monitored on a weekly basis?
Then read below ⬇️
In 2018 I will be launching a second class on Saturday mornings from 10-11.
Both Monday and Saturday classes will run simultaneously in blocks of 6 weeks (1st block 5 weeks). I will hold a talk on training and nutrition on the 1st night of each block giving people the opportunity to weigh in (optional) and set an individual plan in place for the following six weeks.
5 week block. Starting Saturday the 6th
€10 pay as you go (either class)
There will be a limited number per class so booking is essential to secure your place. Gift vouchers also available.