Gallagher desperate for Final to cherish
Aodhan Gallagher will be very much a central figure when St Gall’s bid to capture the Andy Merrigan Cup in Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day.
For Gallagher is fast emerging as a quality midfielder both with club and county and his influence cannot be overstated.
Like so many of his colleagues he admits that losing the 2006 All Ireland final left them all devastated and shattered. It’s bad enough to lose a final at the best of times, but to miss out by just one point left them inconsolable.
“It’s fair to say our best performance in 2006 was beating Nemo Rangers in the All Ireland semi-final,” he said.
“Perhaps we read far too much into that display or perhaps all the hype got to us.
“This time we beat Corofin, but only after extra time, and we could all see considerable room for improvement.
“All the boys are now old enough and mature enough to appreciate that semi-final display wouldn’t be good enough to win a final.
“But the mood in the camp couldn’t be better. It’s still great to be involved in the championship in March, having so much to play for, rather than doing pre-season slogs up and down hills.”
Ever the realist Gallagher, a biology teacher in Methody College, agrees it’s always easy for losing finalists to claim they will be back, but there are no guarantees.
“Our then manager John Rafferty always maintained we were good enough to make it back, but when you consider the quality of some of the sides standing in your way, there were times I wasn’t too sure we would be back on finals day,” he said.
The 2006 final was played on one of the coldest days of the year, but Gallagher’s abiding memory was of total regret and of being totally inconsolable when it was all over.
The Gallagher family hail originally from Andersonstown, but Aodhan and the rest of the family grew up close to the old St Gall’s pitch and the club has been very much part of his life for the last 21 odd years. He maintains it has defined most of his life which isn’t surprising considering that his father Brendan is secretary of the club while his mum Maura is chairperson of the ladies’ committee which all adds up to a winning formula for success on and off the field.