I caught up with St Clarets captain and teammate Aidan Donaghy to look back at the 2015 season a successful one for the Clarets .
Conor: So Aidan after a successful year for the club why do you think we did so well?
Aidan: Well it started very early in the year I called a meeting with all the players from last year and we sat down and decided that we would put in a big effort in for one last year. Then Tony was confirmed as the manager and everyone suddenly seemed really up for it. To be honest we put a lot of hard weeks in at the start at the running track which set our base fitness. Tony then really focuses on us working as a team. We got a few new players this year and there started to be competition for places. This meant that we were getting the numbers at training and we could have proper sessions. In reality it was a mixture of hard work a great bunch of lads and good management. The social side brought the team closer together.
Conor: So would you say the the new players who joined the team along with the added training helped massively?
Aidan: Absolutely! For the last few years it has been tough to get numbers but with the new players this year we were able to get a lot more out of training with more useful drills and exercises which also makes it a lot more interesting.
Conor: And as you’ve mentioned the social side has brought the side together how invaluable is this when it comes to GAA?
Aidan: I think this makes a huge difference to a team, as all you really want to do is play football with your mates and if you can do this and get out together then all the better. I think it is really important in London because it is a tough place to make friends and the GAA is common ground.
Conor: Agreed who do you think has the biggest influence on the other lads?
Aidan: To be honest I would have to say Tony or Paddy just for their presence when they are there.
Conor: Definitely two lads with a lot of experience between them, on the pitch who do you think has been our stand out player or players this year?
Aidan: Padraig Donegan and Matthew Healy put in some brilliant performances this year so for me it was those two, Eamonn Hughes was the other who was a bit unfortunate with injuries, but when he came on he changed the game.
Conor: Switching our focus on the cup how how much do you think winning the McArdle cup and maybe our loss in the Mullarkey helped us push on during the second part of the season?
Aidan: The McArdle cup really set the season us up for the season as we were so close to being knocked out. I think that win was such a big relief because we had put in so much hard work it really made it worth it. This also meant that we had a lot of extra game time which really stood to us at the end of the season. The Mullarkey cup loss did spit us on but I think there wasn’t as much pressure on that cup but we knew then that we had some really good teams to beat if we were going to win anything else.
Conor: The lowest point in the season was undoubtedly losing the championship final having gone unbeaten in it until the final how did we manage to lose it?
Aidan: Definitely the lowest point of the year and probably my lowest point in my footballing life. I have run it over and over in my mind and I still don’t understand how we lost it and probably never will. I honestly believe we let a bit of panic set in and rushed things a bit. Perhaps we thought that we had the game won.
Conor: Maybe we’ll never know the only good thing to come out of it was surely the inspiration it gave us to win the division and keep our 100% record?
Aidan: Well you say that but we got the league but I think the best thing we have out of this year is the complete transformation of a club that was on its knees interns of the senior team to having 29 lads at a game in November and having the supporters out that we did.
Conor: The club is certainly going in the right direction what are your hopes for the clubs in 2016?
Aidan: If we are still in junior championship we want to win that and I realistically think that we need to be pushing for trophies in the intermediate cups and league, but we will have to make sure that the squad sticks together so perhaps a few socials before the new season.
Conor: What was your most memorable moment before on and off the pitch?
Aidan: Most memorable moment of the pitch was watching Lawrence weir surfing a now useless ironing board in Sean Killeen’s house. On the pitch was the loss of the championship, not a good memory but one I will never forget or get over.
Conor: Last but not least sum up our whole season in a sentence.
Aidan: A long hard days work with a great bunch of lads.