GAA Football

Lockdown Digest with Niall Morgan: Some Christy Moore, the worst of debuts and don't ask about superstitions

Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan has enjoyed some aspects of lockdown

The Lockdown digest…

Name: Niall Morgan

County: Tyrone

Club: Edendork St Malachy’s

Your lockdown routine: Get up, post work for kids on school app, breakfast, exercise, check app, FIFA, walk with family, check app, dinner, Netflix, bed. (All whilst trying to help out with house work and baby duties)

Best thing about the lockdown: Loads of family time

Worst thing about the lockdown: No matches / training

Favourite training drill: Shooting drills

Least favourite training drill: Anything that doesn’t involve a ball!

If you didn’t play Gaelic football which sport would you be playing: Soccer

Five dinner guests and reasons why you’d invite them: Peter Kay (comedy), Harry Redknapp (stories), Christy Moore (singing), Liam Neeson (security), Michael Jordan 

Best sporting memory: Representing Ireland in international rules

Worst sporting memory: Debut against Donegal 2013

Best sick-note excuse: Can’t train as I’m packing my bag for holidays tomorrow

Favourite film: Inside Man

Tell us something we don’t know about you: Golf is my favourite past-time

Toughest opponent: Michael Murphy - he could pop up anywhere!

Fastest team-mate: Darren ‘The Dazzler’ McCurry

Favourite GAA player: Peter Canavan

Guilty pleasure: Pizza

Best pitch you played on: Croke Park

Ideal day off: Round of golf and a nice dinner with family

Any match-day superstitions: I did have loads a few years ago until I read ‘Superstitionism’ by David White

Most annoying team-mate: Jake Ferguson (Edendork) - engine on him like Mo Farah regardless of diet!

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Socially distant week…

WITH social media going nuts after Liverpool were crowned league champions for the first time in 30 years on Thursday night, there were all sorts of celebrations and celebratory words. But none came close to the words we found on Facebook from Tyrone man Colin O’Neill.

A bit of background, Colin was a freelance sports reporter with The Irish News for a few years, and a fine one at that, until he left to pursue a career in law.

Words always came easy to the Clonoe native. Amid the madness and noise, this quiet reflection sums up the torturous road of following Liverpool all these years. This is, may I say, quite brilliant from our former colleague.

“Top of the heap again Liverpool FC,” Colin wrote on his Facebook page. “Not a time for crowing and boasting. A time for joy unconfined. I am a 45-year-old man and the last time Liverpool won the league, I was 14. They have been a constant in my life.

“I love them unconditionally, because I was smitten when I was a child. The happiness that I have felt supporting this club has far outweighed any disappointment that I have ever felt. Because I knew this day would come again. And when you give a part of your heart to someone or something, you exist with them in hope and patience and everlasting devotion. That is how it has been, and how it ever will be.”

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WE caught up with one of life’s good guys George Hamilton earlier this week to bring him back 30 years to that famous afternoon in Genoa when the Republic of Ireland knocked Romania out of Italia 90, courtesy of Packie Bonner’s penalty shoot-out save and David O’Leary’s winner. The RTE commentator describes that moment brilliantly.

“David O’Leary scores the penalty and then there is silence from the commentary box because at that moment Tom Flanagan and I were doing a little jig.

“Any commentator will tell you at that moment you shouldn’t be talking because the crowd will carry the emotion and the audience will be reacting in their own way, so anything that you say won’t be heard anyway.

“In that moment of heightened delight, you just step away… and then your experience will tell you when to come back in.”

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WHILE everyone was getting drunk on the earlier than expected return to Gaelic Games, there were some words of caution from Wicklow footballer Conor McGaynor who posted this wise message on his Twitter account.

“Finding it hard to understand why Premier League and AFL players (who are professionals) are getting rigorously tested, yet from this day next week our club can have a practice match and some guy can hang out of me for an hour (who could be working in a hospital) no bothers.”

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IN the midst of some confusion over various aspects of the GAA’s planned return to action, Covid-19 advisory group member and Ulster GAA head of operations, Stephen McGeehan fronted up earlier this week and gave a detailed interview to The Irish News.

“I’m absolutely, entirely sure that the GAA is ready to return and there are a lot of community, sporting and health benefits to come from people being back out and active again, particularly in relation to mental health,” said McGeehan. Can’t be clearer than that.

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Antrim County Chairman Ciaran McCavana had some words to the wise for clubs

WITH clubs in many counties seeking a few more weekends to have a more even spread of championship games between July and mid-September, former Donegal footballer Eamon McGee said: “The fixture problem in the GAA will still be here in January, stop wasting energy on it in the extremely condensed calendar of 2020. Make peace with whatever structure you’re given, make peace that county teams need to prepare and hope it's a half balanced approach.”

In Antrim, some dual clubs in Belfast want the club championship to run until the end of September to help players better manage the tight time-frame better. While having some sympathy with clubs, Antrim chairman Ciaran McCavana also pointed out that there is a responsibility on managers within clubs.

“I would ask clubs to sit down with both their hurling and football managers to ensure that dual players are managed in a responsible manner,” said McCavana. “In reality, we are trying to fit five into four.”

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Quote of the week…

“Back out on a pitch… just glorious.” - Cushendall hurler Arron Graffin sums it up best.

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