Exclusive interview: Grimsby Town's Gavan Holohan on knocking out Southampton and drawing Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup.

Exclusive interview: Grimsby Town's Gavan Holohan on knocking out Southampton and drawing Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup.

A WEEK AGO, GRIMSBY TOWN IN LEAGUE 2 pulled off a massive FA Cup upset when they beat Southampton 2-1 at St. Mary's.

The Mariners became the 13th side from the fourth division or below to beat top-flight opponents since the Football League was rebranded at the start of the 2004-05 campaign.  

The win was Grimsby's fifth-straight win against higher-league opposition in what is known as 'football's oldest cup competition'. 

The League 2 side had already beaten the likes of Plymouth Argyle, Cambridge United, Burton Albion, and Luton Town before they overcame Southampton in the fifth round.  

Grimsby will now play another Premier League side in, Brighton & Hove Albion, in the next round and the man who helped them get there was Kilkenny native Gavan Holohan.  

Holohan (31) scored Grimsby's two goals in the game against Southampton. A well-taken penalty in the first half was replicated with another in the second half.   

Grimsby's Irish midfielder Gavan Holohan celebrates . / (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

This week, the former League of Ireland player took time out of his busy day to go over the famous night for the club and even said that he would take another penalty if he had to do so against Brighton. 

For a refresh, a drab first half sprang into life when VAR spotted a handball close to the end of the first half.  

Southampton's Brazilian Lyanco was adjudged to have handled Joshua Emmanuel's cross. 

According to a BBC commentator, Holohan had never taken a penalty at the senior level. 

He coolly slotted the ball past Southampton's keeper Alex McCarthy at the end of the first half and said in the interview with the Irish Post that he had taken penalties before but none of the magnitude. 

"I've taken a few for Waterford and one for Galway, but none as big as that," said the Irish man. 

"It's a different situation to be in; it's a pressure kick."

"I suppose anyone who takes a penalty has a bit of relief when it goes in, so yeah, it was nice to see it go in."

Grimsby went to the dressing room 1-0 up against a Southampton side down on their luck.

Holohan described the feeling in the Grimsby dressing room at half-time. 

"It was pretty calm. We returned to the changing room, regrouped a bit, and calmed down," Holohan added.

"You know, just after scoring at half-time, everyone was a bit hyped up. It was really about calming down and getting the points across in what we could have done better."

"It was just a few pointers. We knew we were going to have our backs to the walls. We were under no illusions about that."

"We were going to be put under pressure, and then we obviously were not expecting to be awarded another penalty, but we knew we were going to have to dig in, and it was going to be a big ask."

After the restart, things would go from good to excellent for the fourth-division team.

Duje Caleta-Car, the other Southampton defender, slapped Grimsby's Danilo Orsi in the back inside the 18-yard box, which prompted the ref to give another penalty.  

Holohan repeated his first-half trick and sent the ball past McCarty into the left corner of his goal. 

"I hadn't a clue what was going on, to be honest."

"I saw Danilo, our striker. He just went to the floor, and I thought it was a nudge or a push in the back.

"I didn't think much of it, and the next thing I saw was the ref pointing to the spot, so it was a weird feeling. 

"We were all thinking ', what's going on here', and then before you know it, you are stood in front of the keeper again, ready to take the second one."

Holohan said he was relaxed about putting Grimsby 2-0 up on the night with the second penalty.

"The first one, I wouldn't say I was a bit more nervous, but I was a bit more apprehensive with the long wait from the VAR."

"The VAR for the first one was the killer. It felt like I had the ball in my hand for ages."

"The second one, I was confident. I knew what side I would pick, and it was just about, you know, the keeper going that side."

"Lucky I chose right, and it's gone in."

Despite the win, Holohan admitted that there was little time to celebrate because of future commitments in League 2

"Obviously, you are on a bit of a high a couple of days later. You know, a pretty mental and surreal night, Holohan said to the Irish Post.

"But your soon back down to reality with the games coming up to prepare for in the league. 

"So, it was just straight back to business, really. You enjoy the night, but move on quickly and enjoy the next game."

"We earned it, and it was an overwhelming feeling after. Our celebrations with our fans, we took it all in with 4,000 fans. It was a special night for them."

The Grimsby midfielder is a boyhood Manchester United fan and was eager to draw United in the next round, but that never came to suffice. 

Grimsby will now play Brighton away in the next round and will have it all do if they are to create more history. 

Holohan has claimed that he will take another penalty if he has to step up against Brighton. 

"It's safe to say I'll definitely be on the next one. I think that's just the way it works."

"After scoring the last two, I will be on them."

He also admitted that Manchester United in the next round would have been his dream.

"United at Old Trafford that would have been the dream for me."

"So, you are a bit deflated a couple of minutes after the draw is made, but then you put it into perspective that it's the third-best draw we could have made

"United, Manchester City, and then. Brighton, so you're still going away to a massive Premier League club that is flying high, obviously

"It's going to be a good day out, nice crowd, big stadium. You are testing yourself against top players, world-class ones. It will be a good experience."

The game at the Amex will take place on Sunday, March 19, and will be broadcast live on BBC One for the 2:15 kick-off. 

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Grimsby Town players celebrate victory at full time posing with an the Ireland flag during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Southampton and Grimsby Town at St Mary's Stadium on March 01, 2023 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)