We'll try and bring our 'A' game against Mayo

James O'Donoghue with his GAA / GPA Player of the Month award for July.
James O'Donoghue with his GAA / GPA Player of the Month award for July.

Ciln Duffy

HE recently admitted in a GAA YouTube video that he's 'a ridiculous sleepwalker' and James O'Donoghue has certainly been walking through defences with ease of late, as he became the latest recipient of an OPEL GAA-GPA Footballer of the Month award on Tuesday at Croke Park.

He's been getting plaudits from all angles, and also made the GAA.ie 'Team of the Season so far' this week, but he's not getting carried away, after picking up his first ever monthly award.

"I'm thrilled to get this Player of the Month award, it is my first time and it's nice to be recognised and I'm just really happy," he said.

O'Donoghue bagged ten points in the Kingdom's Munster Final demolition of Cork as the 24-year old has really set the GAA world alight this Summer, with many billing him as 'the pretender' to Colm Cooper's throne. He says it's nice to be compared to 'Gooch', but that it means nothing at the end of the day.

"It's nice company to be in to say that, but I try to stay away from that stuff," O'Donoghue said. "It is tough when you are being compared to someone, because it's not quite you. You have just got to be yourself and keep your head down and stay away from that kind of talk because obviously the Gooch is so good, and so much better than everyone else.

"I try and not compare myself with him because you'd only end up getting depressed. It is nice to get a few comments, but I'm my own man and hopefully I will have my own identity some day."

With Cooper on the injury list, and also Kerry's notable retirements, did O'Donoghue feel under any extra pressure approaching the 2014 campaign?

"I think we all did because we lost a few guys who would be very influential in the dressing room even and just big characters," he said. "Not even on a different side - on the playing side of it, if you lose a few characters it can be tough. It can be tough on the atmosphere in the dressing room even. I think that everyone stepped up a small bit. We are here now and have got to a semi-final and if we don't get to the final still it will even be a big disappointment even if we have lost a few players."

On that semi-final date with Mayo on Sunday week in Croke Park, O'Donoghue says that the Westerners are one of the best teams around - and why not, after James Horan's side secured their fourth Connacht title in a row last month.

"Mayo are an excellent team, a very good team. From one to 15, all round they are very strong. They don't really have too many weaknesses - that's the one thing I have noticed about them. They are very strong upfront and they all chip in (for scores). As well as that they are a very physical team, so we'll try and bring our 'A' game and hopefully it will be good enough on the day, but Mayo are a strong team, so it could go either way."

As thoughts of 12 months ago and a last-four defeat to Dublin by seven points come flooding back for O'Donoghue, he says it's tough to look back on games like that.

"It's tough when people want to talk to you about those sorts of games, because people loved watching them, but at the end of the day if you lose it, it's out of your head and you don't want to think about it anymore."


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