Dublin’s Eoghan O’Gara doesn’t feel part of it if not on the frontline
Eoin Lennon always believed Monaghan had it in them to succeed
The hardest aspect of sport for any player is not playing. Eoghan O’Gara has had two hip operations since December. Injury to Paddy Andrews meant the Dublin forward got an 11th hour recall to the Dublin team that beat Meath in the Leinster final.
“It is extremely hard to watch your own team when you are injured or suspended, especially when they are doing well,” said O’Gara.
Even Paul O’Connell, the ultimate team man, admitted his disappointment in victory when talking about not being togged for the second and third Lions Test matches in Australia.
County managers constantly preach the importance of the panel, and while true, the individual can only truly cherish it if he is on the field.
“I was in the changing room after the league final but you don’t really feel a part of it,” O’Gara continued. “There is a bigger picture, you are part of the squad, but for me if I am not on the pitch it doesn’t really count.”
Take Tommy Freeman. Arguably Monaghan’s greatest ever forward, he is slipping into sporting old age now but was sprung from the bench to kick the final point in Sunday’s Ulster final.
O’Gara missed Monaghan’s great leap, as Dublin were training, but after last year he understands what Donegal are going through this week.
“Looking back maybe the level of intensity or the foot was off the gas slightly.
“I don’t think you realise it at the time. It’s only as time goes on you can reflect and try putting a finger on what went wrong but at the time I don’t think you are fully aware of that.
“Given the fact no one has done back to backs in so long I am not saying it’s impossible but it is very hard to maintain that level of desire and intensity. Donegal brought a huge level of intensity last year and to maintain that has proven to be quite tough.”
Monaghan captain Eoin Lennon also spoke yesterday about the performance that nobody knew was coming.
“For a neutral spectator who watched us I could understand why they would have thought that Monaghan had no hope,” said Lennon. “But we knew there was serious potential within ourselves. We knew we were playing within ourselves. I suppose that showed on Sunday. A few boys just threw off the shackles. They really went out and attacked Donegal.
“Thankfully, it all came together. Inside, I always thought that one day it would all come together for us.”