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Five minutes with Derry hurler Naoise Waldron

Name: Naoise Waldron
Age: 28
Occupation: Primary School Teacher (For now)

Teams played for:

Derry, St. Lachtain’s, Ballygunner, Montana Grizzlies Hurling Club and Cuala

Game you most enjoyed playing in?

The u14 county semi final against Ballyhale. We won by two points after a late goal and ended up winning the county final. Either that one or winning our first NCGAA title in Gaelic Park, New York with the Montana Grizzlies.

Game you least enjoyed playing in?

The league game against Donegal this year. They gave us an awful trimming. That was a bad day.

Worst pitch you have ever played on?

Without a doubt, ‘The Farm’ in Cork with UCC. There used to be dog poo on the field and everything. It was brutal.

Toughest training session you’ve every been involved in?

It was was with Cuala in early 2016. Willy Heffernan, our fitness trainer, took us to the side of the field and ran the guts out of us for about 80 minutes. We were told during the week it would be all hurling. We were worried when only Willy turned up to training. Not one sliotar was pucked that day, nor a hurl handled.

What’s your preferred brand of gear?

Adidas would definitely be my preferred brand of gear. Best boots and best jackets you can get.

Most inspirational individual you’ve ever met?

Either Kaleb Barrett or Fergal Hartley. Kaleb is a professional Bullfighter and a friend of mine from Montana that started hurling at age 29 and took to it like a duck to water. He took me under his wing and showed me how to use a gym properly. The man is a freak athlete and as hard as a coffin nail. As for Fergal, anyone who knows anything about hurling knows who Fergal Hartley is. When I joined Ballygunner he was one of the first people to introduce himself to me and commanded respect whenever he spoke or played. The man could do it all.

Where do you like to go out to celebrate?

It depends where I am as far as I like to go to celebrate. If I’m in Missoula, Montana we’d always go straight to Charlie B’s, with Cuala it would be the Club and with Derry it’d have to be Feeny.

What do you like to do when you are not training/playing?

I’d usually be re-watching Friday Night Lights. Texas Forever.

Which character in any film/tv show are you most like?

Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Which team mates (From any club/county) are the first you’d invite on a night out?

One of two, either Jack Ruddle (Ballygunner) or Chad Ireland (Montana). They’d have be at the top of the list for anyone that knows them. The stories and the craic I’ve had with those two are unbelievable and they’d be up for anything.

Which team mate is the worst dancer?

The worst dancer is my brother Cian. All his movements on the dancefloor are from his chest up. It’s brutal.

Which team mate is the loudest in the changing room?

Cormac ‘Cutler’ McKenna for Derry.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen happen in training/during a match?

When Chad Ireland decided it was too hot to train, sat down on the side of the field and opened a can of Coors light that he had tucked away in his gear bag. Either that or when one of the Cuala lads messed his pants on the field and had to run into the dressing room in the middle of a match.

What’s the worst excuse you’ve heard to get out of training and who did it come from?

Worst excuse I ever heard to get out of training was from a friend of mine, Liam ‘Dazo’ Darcy. He used to not turn up for training because he’d have to walk dogs. Either that or every farmer I’ve ever hurled with that was either drawing silage or tired from sheep sheering.

Biggest Ego?

Shane Stapleton in Cuala.

Worst/best person to sit next to on the team bus?

Mark Nolan, he always takes up two seats. Best person to sit beside would have been Neil O’Connor because he was always cracking jokes and taking the piss out of everyone.

Worst/best person to share a room with on away days?

Chad Ireland. We often had to share a bed when we’d have four in a room and he’d usually sneak bottles of whiskey in with him. The worst person to share with would have been Barry Crowley because we’d nearly have to push him into the shower after matches or tournaments. He was great craic though.

Who has the best diet, and who has the worst, and what do they consist of? ?

The likes of John Sheanon, Paul Schutte and the O’Callaghans would really look after themselves and would have great diets. The worst diet I’ve witnessed would have to be Alan ‘Scoots’ Grant. Now, it has improved lately because he’s preparing for his wedding but I’ve seen him more than once horsing choc ices and crisps and that sort of thing into himself before matches. Never seemed to affect him though.

Toughest opponent you have played against?

John Traynor from Dicksboro. We had serious battles growing up against each other and used to cut lumps out of each other.

Best or worst quote you have heard from a team mate/opponent/manager?

The best quotes would probably all belong to Collie McGurk. He always has a few great ones in the dressing rooms before matches, from quoting Patrick Kavanagh to the re-telling of old club/county battles he’s had and even referencing Arlene Foster once. He’ll even throw in the odd personal vendetta here and there.
There’s probably a bit more competition for worst quote. From dogs running in Shelbourne Park to watching boxing matches on a screen in a dressing room and even “Give me the ball and I’ll do the business”, I’ve heard a wide variety of shite in my travels and the many dressing rooms I’ve sat in.

Best manager you have played for?

The best manager I’ve ever had would be my father. Along with my father I’d have Mick Mahony from Ballygunner right up there. Their records speak for themselves.

What frustrates you most about the GAA?

Nepotism.

What is the best thing about being part of the GAA?

The best thing about being part of the GAA is when nepotism works in your favour. That and the power of the communities you’re exposed to. The rivalries, the friends, the fights, the craic. All of it. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing that would stand out. Everything all together and making memories with all sorts of people from all sorts of places.

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