By Damian Dolan
Loyalties will be tested in the Carrabine family household on Sunday at McGovern Park, as brothers David and Sean line up in opposing camps.
The prospect is not one that’s lost on David, whose parents and sisters will be in Ruislip.
“It’s a strange one for them,” David told the Irish World. “They’ll be happy for both of us, but I don’t know if they can pick sides.
“When I go home there’s a bit of banter with the lads and the family, but between myself and Sean…..we talk quite a bit but not about that.”
The Castleconnor duo could even find themselves in direct opposition – with David a half back and Sean, who broke into the Sligo panel this year, a half forward by trade.
David added: “There’s a chance of that, but there’s no point thinking about it. You just have to focus on getting on to the field yourself.
“I’m sure he’s the same and doing what you can for London in my case, and for Sligo in his case.”
Sunday will be the first time the brothers have found themselves on opposing sides, outside of the club’s annual Christmas charity match to fundraise money for a young man from the parish injured in a work accident in France.
They haven’t lined out alongside each other too often either – 27-year-old David being Sean’s senior by eight years.
The exception was in 2015, when Sean was just breaking into the Castleconnor senior team. The club reached the Sligo intermediate championship final that year, only to be put to the sword by Easkey. David started at full back, while Sean was an early second half substitute.
“We only played a few games together that year. We were unlucky; we got to the intermediate and league finals and lost both of them,” recalled David.
“We’ve never played against each other either. Hopefully that might change on Sunday.”
The same year, Sean helped Sligo Minors reach a Connacht final, only to lose out to Galway.
David played U16 to U21 for Sligo – the latter in 2012 before leaving for Edinburgh to attend Napier University.
It was while in Edinburgh that he got in touch with Garryowen’s Sean Igoe, a fellow Castleconnor man.
He made his London debut in 2017 away to Waterford in the 1st Round, and featured against Leitrim in the Connacht Championship and Carlow in the qualifiers.
Sean made his Sligo debut earlier this year against Galway in the FBD League. He went on to feature in all of the county’s Division 3 fixtures.
He scored 0-2 in the Yeats county’s Round 2 win over Wexford, and set up two goals off the bench in Sligo’s must-win victory over Derry, to help Cathal Corey’s side retain their Division 3 status.
Sligo may have escaped relegation to Division 4 in the final round, but David is expecting a tough challenge on Sunday.
“Derry are a pretty good side so it was a very good result for Sligo. They did well to stay up,” he said.
David added: “It’s going to be very tough, Sligo are a very good team. They’ve a lot of experienced players who’ve been around for a good number of years and then they’ve a lot of youth that’s come in in the last couple of years.
“We’re going to have to be at our best to beat them.”
But David is confident that the Exiles can build on their positive league campaign, and put it up to Sligo.
“There’s been that extra edge to training where boys are fighting for a place. It’s a good intensity and we’re looking forward to it,” he said.
“We played a lot of good football this year – maybe playing all our games at Ruislip was a big advantage. We’re well used to the pitch and hopefully that will stand to us.
“There’s been a big improvement from last year to this. We had a better league campaign, but overall performances have been far better as well. The main core group of lads are still there.
“There’s a good feeling in the camp, the boys are all chomping at the bit.”