Donal O’Hare says players’ motivation has lifted Down

Win or lose against Roscommon, thoughts will soon shift to the Ulster championship

Down’s Donal O’Hare: “It’s just a thing that has been going around the county, that people haven’t wanted to play. But the 30 people who are there at the minute opted to play for the county and I think there is no better feeling in the world than wearing your county colours.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Down’s Donal O’Hare: “It’s just a thing that has been going around the county, that people haven’t wanted to play. But the 30 people who are there at the minute opted to play for the county and I think there is no better feeling in the world than wearing your county colours.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Few football teams have both reinvented and rediscovered themselves this season better than Down. Win or lose the Division Two final against Roscommon in Croke Park this Sunday, Down will be back up with the big boys in 2016, and probably not before their time.

Corner forward Donal O’Hare puts this renaissance of sorts down to a number of things, starting with the fact that only those who honestly want to play for Down right now are doing exactly that.

“It’s just a thing that has been going around the county, that people haven’t wanted to play,” says O’Hare. “That’s their decision. If they want to play for their clubs, go ahead. But the 30 people who are there at the minute opted to play for the county and I think there is no better feeling in the world than wearing your county colours. Especially on a day like this Sunday.

“So at the start of the year we just dealt with our team, and we got on with it. I’m sure there are some players who would be good enough to play for Down, just like any county. People’s circumstances mightn’t suit them or others mightn’t have the love for it anymore. But we just played the cards we were dealt, and that was it.”

Fancied opposition

O’Hare also credits new manager Jim McCorry for bringing an entirely neutral feel to the team, partly because he has Armagh roots: there is the feeling as well that James McCartan took the team as far as he could, and after several high profile retirements (such as Benny Coulter) 2015 was about a fresh start.

“A lot of people wrote us off, and said we were doomed for Division Three, and we used that as a bit of motivation. And when wee James [McCartan] left, a lot of other players left too. So Jim was coming in, with his new ways, new strategies, new game plan, new backroom team and, definitely, new players.

“So it’s a totally new team, really, and that’s given everyone a huge chance to step up to the mark. And by now Jim probably sees himself more as a Down man than an Armagh man. What he has done in the club scene in Down, he has won silverware everywhere he has went so it was only a matter of time. Definitely he had nothing to prove. If anything the players had something to prove to him.”

Long-term target

“Our short-term targets were getting to Division One, and our bonus game is now, against Roscommon, in the final. Then we have Derry, in five weeks. Hopefully this year now – you just never know what will happen in Ulster. I suppose it is a little more even.

“This last 10 years or so Tyrone had their dominance, Armagh had their dominance, and I suppose Donegal had their couple of years. Now it is very tough to call, anything can happen on championship day – any team you meet it is going to be tough.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.