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Aaron Branagan reveals measures taken to resolve disputes in Kilcoo training


Kilcoo’s Aaron Branagan has revealed the team need to use a scoreboard during training sessions to settle disputes.

Reigning All-Ireland club champions Kilcoo are in another Ulster Championship final this Sunday when they take on Glen, but the hunger for more success certainly hasn’t dwindled.

The County Down club ran out as comfortable winners in their Ulster quarter-final and semi-final encounters, and they will be eager to continue their club season in the new year with a victory this weekend.

Aaron Branagan was speaking on Colm ‘Wooly’ Parkinson’s Smaller Fish GAA podcast and explained that Kilcoo’s players are so competitive that they have had to take special measures to prevent disputes during training sessions.

Aaron Branagan on Kilcoo’s training sessions.

“We just happen to have a really special group of lads that just love winning. It’s very abnormal,” Branagan said.

“We would play an in-house game in training or even a small-sided game. This is how bad our training has got, we’ve had to put the scoreboard on for small-sided games because it’s an argument.

“Conleith [Gilligan] is the worst score keeper ever. Then boys are going up the bank saying, ‘We beat yous and you beat yous,’ and people would be going home in bad form.

“It’s just from whenever we were younger, the likes of big Jerome Johnson senior would have created a winning culture and we just hate losing even in wee training games, never mind big games.

“Once we go into those big games we just go into that mode again of we just have to win at all costs.”

Family connections.

There are plenty of family members on the Kilcoo team, as Aaron is one of four Branagan brothers, while he also has four cousins on the team in Jerome, Ryan and Shealin Johnston, as well as Ceilum Doherty.

Branagan explained that the close connections can often cause fights, but stressed that disputes are never carried on away from the pitch.

“Maybe two or three years ago there was maybe seven sets of brothers on the team,” Branagan explained.

“People talk about us and ask what it’s like to play with your brothers… There’s no one who fights more in training than me and Aidan, or Daryl and Eugene. And then there’s no one that fights more with the Johnstons than each other.

“You expect so much more of your brothers and the boys expect more of themselves… We can be hard on each other because we know we’re family at the end of the day and nobody’s going to take any of that home.”

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