His commute might now be shorter than it once was, but Caolan Ward’s effort has upped since he’s made the breakthrough to the Donegal team.
Ward made the long trek from Carlow twice a week in his first year on the Donegal senior panel. As he cut his teeth in senior inter-county football during those long jaunts, he sometimes questioned if it was worth it.
Now based in Monaghan, the St Eunan’s defender, a regular in the Donegal team, is reaping the rewards.
“I’ve been quite lucky to get game time in the last year,” Ward says ahead of Donegal’s clash with Derry in Celtic Park on Sunday.
“If you can put the hand up to be in for selection, you’ll take it and be ready. That’s something that players have to do. I’ve played a lot this year in McKenna Cup and League and got in against Cavan.
“It fills you with confidence that management see you’re training well.”
At training, Ward is in direct combat with Michael Murphy and Patrick McBrearty and has to bring his ‘A’ game each time.
Of his first introduction to the Donegal panel two years he says: “I had to lift my performance and go to a level I never trained before. You have to get to a level of how you conduct yourself and prepare for a game. I was lucky that that was ingrained in me from a young age.
“You have to see yourself in it for the long haul. There are no short fixes at this level. The opportunity will come if you work hard enough for it.”
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