A Great Story Regarding The Greatest GAA Picture Ever

With news that Niall Sheridan has been appointed manager of St Mary’s Granard in Co Longford, we thought we’d republish this great story first posted a couple of years ago on Balls.

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For those of you experiencing the dreaded “We’re sorry, but Twitter is over capacity right now,” message it’s probably due to the hoards of people sharing the greatest GAA picture ever. The player in question is former Longford full forward and Abbeylara club man Niall Sheridan. The picture reminded me of a great story I was told by one of the many full backs to have fallen victim to the big man with the subtle touch.

A few years ago Abbeylara and their fiercest rivals, St. Mary’s Granard, were set to go head to head in what promised to be thriller. Both teams had been tipped for championship success, and dealing with Niall Sheridan would be half the battle for Granard if they were going to emerge victorious. The man tasked with the challenge of the curtailing Sheridan was was a young, barely wet behind the ears defender, who we’ll call Johnny Reilly for the sake of this article (he doesn’t want his real name put up in case Sheridan hunts him down). The talented, county under 21 player at the time, was understandably anxious about this upcoming battle.

The night before the match Reilly and a couple of his friends were trying to think of a way to put by the night. Something they could do that would ease their nerves, and of course didn’t involve drink. So they decided to watch a film called 300. For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it, it’s a ridiculously over the top epic, based around The Battle of Thermoplyae in Ancient Greece. After watching the 2 hour extravaganza of testosterone the lads were frothing the mouth, and couldn’t wait to face Abbeylara the next day. Johnny however, well he was still as nervous as a small nun at a penguin shoot.

Some of the lads set off on their way home, but decided to make a detour via Niall Sheridan’s house in Abbeylara, unbeknownst to Reilly of course. They wrote a short message, quoting the most famous line from 300, and dropped it in through Sheridan’s letterbox. It read:

Ready your breakfast and eat hearty… For tomorrow, you dine in hell!

Signed: Johnny Reilly

The next day, the gang of would-be rabble rousers decide to tell Reilly of their exploits, mere minutes before he takes to the field. The poor lad could now barely hold his water as he gingerly walked up to shake hands with his new nemesis. Sheridan took a tight grip, gave him a cheeky smile, and went on to give Johnny the run around.

So here’s to Niall Sheridan, the man who Reilly – a Longford county senior player and Sigerson Cup full back – described as ‘the toughest player I’ve ever had to mark.’