Although still a young man Eínne O’Connor has a huge amount of experience, experience he feels is valuable when looking to win a second Jack Daly.
“Firstly I love playing football and I love playing for Éire Óg. We’ve had loads of tough defeats. I lost four quarter-finals in a row so that was extremely difficult to take. Last year I felt a lot of pressure to win because of those defeats and when we had huge success with U-21 which added more pressure especially when we weren’t transferring that to the Senior ranks.”
Eínne spent four years in Athlone IT and played Sigerson for those four years. He is now at GMIT doing a Masters in Strength and Conditioning. So he is well placed to discuss what it takes to win.
“Firstly you have to prepare right, both physically and mentally, eat right, sleep right. It’s all part of the modern game. We are drilled by Paul and the management team to work harder than the opposition and if a team outworks us they will beat us.
“To work hard for sixty plus minutes you have to be conditioned properly. It’s tough with the sacrifices you make but winning makes it so worthwhile.”
On being favourites for this years showpiece O’Connor is revelling in it.
“Last year there was pressure to get over the line but there’s no pressure now. We are Champions. We have done what people thought we wouldn’t do. I suppose there has always been potential but there would have been a view that maybe we were soft Townies but that view disappears when you are successful. That’s why there’s no pressure.
“It’s a fantastic day and it’s one we will embrace. You have to enjoy these moments. They’re what you put in all the hard work for.”
O’Connor also believes that if you are prepared right that success follows. He is of the Roy Keane view of fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
“Our management team do everything to get us ready. We have a tremendous coach in Seanie Buckley. We have gym sessions, recovery sessions, we are never overworked and that’s a credit to Paul and his team.
“We always feel that we have done everything right when we go out onto the field and look, if we are beaten by a better team on the day then so be it. We won’t lose because we weren’t prepared or we didn’t work hard enough.”
O’Connor seems fully intent on retaining Jack Daly and with his positive mindset who would bet against him and his teammates come throw in on Sunday.