GAA Football

Magherafelt's Quinn marks Rossa return after Dublin adventure

Magherafelt’s Peter Quinn celebrates the only goal during the Derry Senior Football Championship Group C clash between Magherafelt and Ballinderry. Picture by Philip Walsh

NOT 10 months ago, Peter Quinn was being asked to do the big man-marking jobs for Thomas Davis in the Dublin championship.

On Sunday afternoon, he was back home and finding himself in the unlikely position of scoring the only goal in Magherafelt’s opening group stage victory over Ballinderry.

Quinn had played in the Dublin final last year, falling short against Ballyboden, having been up home to watch his native club collect a first Derry SFC title in 41 years.

Having joined in the celebrations, he admitted at the time that he’d had conversations with his former team-mates about transferring back up the road for 2020.

He’s since made the leap, rejoining his native club despite still being based in Dublin during the week.

The weeks are hectic again. The drive to training is “two-and-a-half hours with no traffic”, he says. Quinn comes up once a week and has to cut his annual leave from work to fit.

“It’s a Bank Holiday [on Monday] but back down in the morning.

“I was up on Friday, there was an accident on the M1. I was off last week fortunately so I was up early. I’m back to work on Tuesday and I’ll try and get the day off on Friday to make training on Thursday again.

“I’ll not be there [tonight]. I’ve only got 20-something holidays so you have to choose the right days. When you’re here, you need to perform. I got the chance to play today and I knew I had to put in the performance to keep in the manager’s good books.

“You can see, the squad’s very healthy, the reserves won very handsomely today as well. The competition is there. All the boys know that.

“Last year with the lads bringing home silverware, it was hard to not be part of it.

“I just made a decision to come up the road. Not too many years left playing football, so I just felt it was the right thing to do, to try and win something with the lads.

“We won the minor, what is it, 10 years ago now? The trophy last year was always coming down the line at some stage.

“A year or two early for me, but hopefully this year we can put in another good run.”

The experience in Dublin, which saw him mark the likes of Bernard Brogan, Brian Howard, Kevin McManamon and Paul Mannion in last year’s championship, was good to Quinn.

Now 28, he will keep an eye on Thomas Davis’ game against Skerries on Wednesday night as they try to negotiate their own round-robin series, having already beaten Lusk.

“It was [good for me]. I made some very good friends. I think they’ll do well again this year and I wish them all the best.

“It was a hard decision to make but it’s very hard to swap up playing with the lads you grew up with.

“In some ways, it would have been great to win a Dublin championship but Derry club football is different pedigree. If you win that, you should be happy.”

Quinn is one of two returnees to Rossa Park over the winter, with Ryan Ferris having also transferred back, albeit from neighbouring Ballymaguigan having played a few seasons there.

They were both on the Magherafelt team that reached an Ulster minor final in the 2010 season along with Fergal Duffin, Conor Kearns and Shane Heavron.

But as Quinn acknowledged, while those boys were always his mates, his time away and the emergence of a new core of young players meant that this was his competitive game alongside some of his clubmates.

“It’s good to be back. Not the season I thought we’d have, with the league to prepare. It’s a short turnaround preparing for… I suppose it’s not a true championship game, but it’s good to get a run-out against a side like Ballinderry as well. They’re not going to give you any half measures.

“It was good to get a full game. I haven’t really played, a few friendlies but there’s boys there I haven’t properly played with before, so it’s good to get the run-out with them.

“Me, personally, I haven’t played that system an awful lot of times. Coming in and you’ve boys shouting you to go this way and the other way. It’s good that we have the three league games to get ourselves sorted and get the gameplan right.”

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