2018 Young Player of the Year and 2019 Club All-Star winner Darragh McGurn from Belnaleck Art McMurroughs spent the summer playing football in America. The Club All-Star team took some time to chat to him about his experience.
Q. You spent this summer playing Gaelic Football in America. What was the experience like?
A. I was in Chicago for the summer playing with the Padraig Pearse’s. It was an experience of a lifetime if I am being honest and something I feel every young player should do, regardless of what some may say.
I went on my own as well which was great as I got to meet so many lads similar to myself from all over Ireland. I was in a house with 12/13 other lads, living in fairly rough conditions, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing!
The craic was unbelievable and there’s plenty of stories that will be left in Chicago too!
Winning the two championships was definitely the highlight of the trip. I never expected to be involved with such a talented group. The lifestyle over there is something I really enjoyed too. With the good weather you nearly always feel good and being productive is fairly easy.
Q. Was the standard of Gaelic football at the level you expected?
A. It was definitely a high standard. I didn’t expect to have so much competition to make the starting team. The quality of player was very high. You could only play five J1 sanctions at one time, so the level was always going to be limited slightly. In saying that though, there was plenty of good footballers living in Chicago, so you got nothing easy in any game you played!
Q. Would you do it again?
A. I definitely would do it again. I’ve come to realise there’s a lot more out there than just playing and training back home. I found the lifestyle very refreshing and something I probably needed. Just to get away from the whole seriousness of football and life in general back home. I could enjoy my football while also enjoying every other aspect of life at the same time which was cool.
Q. Any advice for prospective footballers who are thinking of going Stateside next summer?
A. Go for it. Contact clubs and see how you get on, you’ll never regret doing it. Ask plenty of questions before you go somewhere as well.Find out what the club is like, where you’ll be staying and things like that. Sometimes clubs can put you in awful locations and shocking housing, so get all that info before you go and contact someone who has been there before.
Q. What are your hopes for this years Senior Championship?
A. I want to win the senior championship. We have the players to do it, we just need to get that belief going within the squad. I think we have proved in the last few years that when everyone available is on the field and fit, we can beat anyone. Not many people give us a chance of winning it out, but that will make it all the sweeter.
Q. What are your predictions for this years Fermanagh Club Championship in Senior, Intermediate and Junior?
A. Senior – Belnaleck
Intermediate – Devenish
Junior – Newtown
Q. Any past and current players that deserve a Fermanagh Club All-Star?
A. Past – Lee Cullen before he retired. Current – James Speight will deserve one come the middle of October.
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