This week he has been put under the spotlight by the official website gaa.ie.
Q: Some goalkeepers prefer to play outfield. What are your outfield credentials?
A: I played outfield for the club at underage all the way through the ranks and only started playing in goals when I was 15 or 16. I also played outfield for the club (Four Masters) last year, but when we lost our ‘keeper – he transferred this year – I moved back between the posts. I played at full-forward and I was taking the frees.
Some people would my playing in goals is down to laziness! But I always admired guys like Shay Given, Packie Bonner and Gary Walsh (former Donegal goalkeeper). I always liked it. My two older brothers used to stick me in goals when we were young so it kind of stuck.
Q: What’s the best or most important save you’ve ever made in your career?
A: I suppose it was this year against Tyrone in the last minute of the Ulster semi-final. We were three points up and it was practically the last kick of the game. I went low to my left to stop Martin Penrose’s shot and deflected it out off the post for a 65. I think that save probably got us through to the Ulster final.
Q: Donegal have changed their style drastically in recent years, but have you been forced to adapt your game too?
A: You do adapt your game in ways. The main thing for a goalkeeper is the kick-outs and winning primary possession off them. You do adapt and it’s always in your head how you’re going to do it and how you are going to win the kick-outs.
Q: If you could play an All-Ireland final or Ulster final in any stadium outside of Ireland, what stadium would you choose?
A: I’ve always liked the stadium in New York, Meadowlands, the home of the New York Jets. I like American Football and watch it as much as I can, as I do most sports.
Q: Some big soccer games have been settled on penalty shoot-outs this summer. If there were penalties in Gaelic Games and the All-Ireland final ended in a draw, would you volunteer to take one?
A: Ah yeah. If the boys out the field didn’t want to take them then I’d definitely step up and take one. There are players on the team that can stick them past me any day so it would depend. I would think that I would have the confidence to step up and take one.
Q: What’s the greatest game you’ve been to in any sport?
A: It would have to be the Donegal-Dublin All-Ireland final in 1992. I was nine at the time and I still remember bits and pieces of it. It was a real thrill, sitting in the old Cusack Stand with my father. It was unbelievable. I remember the celebrations then back in Donegal Town on the Monday. I was up until all hours, but that was special so I was allowed to stay up beyond my bedtime.
Q: What’s the most enjoyable game you’ve ever played in?
A: I always love playing for Donegal, but apart from that I always really enjoyed playing college football. I loved playing in the Sigerson Cup (with Sligo IT), the speed of it was just something that I enjoyed.
But I remember playing a Ryan Cup final against UCD in Longford in the middle of winter. It was a bad day but it was one of the best games I’ve ever seen or been involved in.
Q: Have you ever shown any ability in another sport and would you like to have pursued it?
A: I played a lot of soccer and basketball at school. I was a schoolboy soccer international. I have four caps for Ireland as a goalkeeper. I played for Finn Harps and made it to the bench for the first team. Growing up, Gary Walsh would have been a hero of mine and I was lucky enough to train with Packie Bonner a few times. He was a great ‘keeper and there were a few other guys in my area that played at a high level as goalkeepers. It was when I went to college that I stopped playing soccer and focused on the Gaelic football, when I was 20, 21. I enjoyed soccer but I was always going to focus on Gaelic football.
Q: Who’s the most famous sportsperson you’ve ever met?
A: Shay Given or Packie Bonner.
Q: If you could revisit any moment in your career and change what happened, what moment would you choose?
A: I remember a game against Tyrone in the Ulster championship in 2007 (Ulster semi-final) when I gave away a bad goal. If I could go back, I’d definitely change that. I gave away a penalty for throwing the ball in the square and they scored from it.
Courtesy of www.gaa.ie – Nothing Beats Being There – get your tickets from your club, at Centra stores or at www.gaa.ie