Saturday 25 November 2017

Masters date another entry in O'Hara's packed diary

Eamonn O'Hara
Eamonn O'Hara
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

They say if you want something done, ask a busy man. And if that's the case, former Sligo star Eamonn O'Hara might just be the person to approach.

On Saturday afternoon, he'll tog out with the Irish International Rules Masters team in Denn, Co Cavan at 2.0 as they take on their Australian counterparts. It's the second Test of the week and Ireland have effectively won the competition already thanks to their 83-point success in Galway on Wednesday night.

The Irish camp were surprised by just how much they had to spare against an Australian team comprised of club players from across the continent but there's set to be a couple of big names of yesteryear on show. Former Galway flyer Declan Meehan togs out along with the likes of Cavan's Jason O'Reilly.

With the series already in the bag, Saturday morning might take on a more casual feel and there's talk an Aussie Rules ball might be used for a period.

"We got a good start in the opening quarter and that kind of set the tone for the day," O'Hara said. "But it was enjoyable but the team that is travelling is always going to struggle I suppose. It's harder for them to get over here and get things right but we trained quite hard for it and we have a good team, a lot of fellas who have kept themselves in really good nick.

Surprise

"So we're looking forward to Saturday now. Look, it's very popular with the players who I suppose want to play as much as possible."

It's probably no surprise that O'Hara, as vice-captain of the Irish team, is in the middle of it. He retired from inter-county football in 2013 when he was the longest-serving footballer in the country having put in 19 seasons with the Yeats men.

After another year playing with his club he moved to manage Mayo side Ballaghadereen before 2016 saw him return to take charge of his native Tourlestrane.

They raced to another county title this year - their sixth in 13 seasons - but O'Hara double-jobbed there too. When they played the league final, O'Hara had little time to debrief his side as he had to tog out with the club's junior side in a championship decider immediately afterwards.

This weekend is similarly packed. After facing the Aussies on Saturday, he'll train Tourlestrane on Sunday morning before heading for Castlebar to take in the two Mayo SFC semi-finals. His side are due to face the Mayo champions as a Sligo club go in search of a first provincial title since 1983.

"Whoever comes out of Mayo is going to be very strong but we'll go and have a look and see what we can see."

Irish Independent

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