GAA Football

Lockdown Digest: GAA community rising to the pandemic challenge: John Finucane

John Finucane, pictured with Sinn Fein colleague and former team-mate JJ Magee (left), delivering food parcels for the vulnerable in north Belfast. The MP has been overwhelmed by how the GAA community has reacted to the pandemic

Name: John Finucane

County: Antrim

Club: Lámh Dhearg

Your lockdown routine: Given my relatively new role of MP I’m busy on a day-to-day basis with constituency matters, which I’m grateful about as I don’t do sitting about very well!

Best thing about the lockdown: The community response in ensuring family, friends and neighbours are looked after is unbelievable no matter where you look around the country and the GAA are at the heart of a lot of that good work. There’s also a lot less time being wasted and remote meetings/work is something we should be looking at going forward. Football-wise its giving me time to work on sorting out injuries!

Worst thing about the lockdown: Missing football is obvious but an indulgence compared to the uncertainty for so many people who don’t know what the future holds for them, not to mention the amount of people who have already lost loved ones.

Favourite training drill: All goalkeeping drills are great and over the years have really developed. Kicking, feet movement, shot-stopping drills have all become imaginative and tough too.

Least favourite training drill: Anything that has me running after the fitter faster ones on the team.

If you didn’t play Gaelic football which sport would you be playing: Soccer, love the boxing training but couldn’t beat eggs as they say! I’ve enjoyed giving out a few tennis lessons to Paddy Cunningham from time to time also.

Five dinner guests and reasons why you’d invite them: Mike Tyson, Diego Maradona and Serena Williams for some amazing sports insight; Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey for a bit of craic and mischief.

Best sporting memory: Personally being part of so many very good Antrim teams; with the club, winning the Championship in 2017 but as a spectator I’ll go to boxing as I’ve been lucky to have been at some great fights with amazing atmospheres seeing Golovkin, Lomachenko, Mayweather, Frampton & Taylor.

Worst sporting memory: Any loss in a big game or any game is tough to take but if you can learn from it then it’s positive. Maybe getting my shoes stolen while I was out making my Championship debut for Antrim is up there but it makes others laugh!

Best sick-note excuse: ‘Can’t make training as have to see a priest about sorting this christening’ has to be up there. It was known in advance to be a tough session so not many believed him.

Favourite film: The Godfather.

Tell us something we don’t know about you: I’ll keep that one secret.

Toughest opponent: I was talking to a mate recently who played with me in a 7s tournament at Maghera years ago and we were reminiscing about Geoffrey McGonagle scoring goals for fun against us. The Kerry forward line I faced in Tullamore included ‘Gooch’, Walsh, both O’Sullivans, Galvin but you were facing quality forwards all the time around then so it’s tough to pick out one.

Fastest team-mate: Owen McKeown, sometimes he’s like a speedboat with no driver but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone as fast and he’s been a big part of our success over the last two years.

Favourite GAA player: Shaun Patton, Rory Beggan and Niall Morgan are always great to watch and outfield I think we’re seeing something special in David Clifford who is very exciting to watch.

Guilty pleasure: I definitely have a sweet tooth so anything chocolate.

Best pitch you played on: Croke Park, not surprisingly, was superb but to be fair I can’t ever remember Casement Park being a bad pitch to play on. Hannahstown on a good day wins easily though.


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