Thursday 22 February 2018

McBrearty in high demand

WHEN time allows, Paddy McBrearty will get around to sitting the Leaving Certificate and, hopefully, secure an Arts place in NUI Maynooth with a view to becoming a secondary school teacher. At the moment, though, football dominates everything, writes Donnchadh Boyle.

The demands on his time seem endless. There are schools and club teams to line out for and there are U-21 and senior duties with Donegal to fulfil. There was also Tadhg Kennelly's AFL camp in Dublin last week, which even for someone who was courted by Celtic, was a bit of a head-turner.

"It's the dream of any young lad to be a professional sportsman, be it soccer or Aussie Rules," said the Kilcar youngster, who is a former schoolboy soccer international.

"Any young lad would consider it now. In the economic state we're in, there isn't much out there. And to be paid to play football? Of course, I would consider it. If something did arise, I would have to think about it after my Leaving Cert, because that's my main focus.

"I didn't have the highest leap or the lowest skinfold (at the camp), but I got on alright," he laughed. "I think I adapted okay to the oval ball and we'll see what happens in the next few weeks. It was a fantastic experience and to have someone like Tadhg Kennelly over you was amazing."

McBrearty, who doesn't turn 19 until August, is self-assured and it's easy to see why Jim McGuinness trusted him to play against Antrim in both minor and senior in the same day last May. He was surprised that McGuinness used him against Antrim because he hadn't been involved in the squad that much and "didn't think it was fair on the other lads."

Naturally, his school workload has gone through the roof this year and should Donegal beat Cavan in the Ulster preliminary round, they'll face Derry in the middle of his exams on June 16, though there is no doubt he'll be making himself available.

"But it's torture sometimes. There are people pulling out of you everywhere. Training's an hour away from where I am in Donegal. We head away at 4.30 and mightn't come back until nine. Then I'd have to study for two hours. Of course it's tough, but there are only a couple of months left."

Irish Independent

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