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McBurney/Declan Bogue

Pictured Declan Bogue

Date: Thursday 12th April 2012

Location: BT Offices

Credit: Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Copyright: Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Liam McBurney - RAZORPIX


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Declan Bogue: Barry O’Hagan has realised that Down can use the Tailteann Cup to their advantage

Declan Bogue


Barry O’Hagan is now relishing the Tailteann Cup

Barry O’Hagan is now relishing the Tailteann Cup

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Barry O’Hagan is now relishing the Tailteann Cup

Who among us has never changed their mind or opinion on something?

Is this not evidence of a higher state of evolution?

In any case, it should be taken at face value that when Down’s gifted footballer Barry O’Hagan said he had “no interest” in playing in the Tailteann Cup, the question was asked in the immediate aftermath of a soul-destroying defeat to Monaghan in the Ulster Championship.

A few weeks on, it was no less than O’Hagan who was the nominated player to represent Down at the press conference to launch the Tailteann Cup. Well, you have to admire the guts.

With the dust settled, O’Hagan had reflected and his opinion was slightly different.

“Look, at the end of the day, we are where we currently are at this moment in time with Down,” he said.

“If we put our heads together for this Cup and try to develop our team, it can be beneficial for us in the long run and that’s what our stand is now and hopefully it will go that way.”

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He also answered the thorny question that Kilcoo’s Eugene Branagan raised when he said that the current Down team did not have a winning mentality and appeared to question the suitability of manager James McCartan. You can imagine how that insulted and demeaned the current panel, although they will not directly engage with the topic.

“James’ door was knocked and James came and answered it,” O’Hagan said. “Fair play to him. For me personally there is no better man at this moment in time to be in charge of Down than James McCartan himself.”

O’Hagan is cut from a strain of Clonduff that is hugely loyal to the county. In a recent Q&A, he cited Ross Carr as his greatest influence, a man who has done — and continues to do — much for his county.

And it goes without saying that O’Hagan’s older brother Darren has been the most defiant Mourne footballer over the last several seasons of underachievement.

For the likes of O’Hagan, his brother and Carr, the red and black still means a great amount. And that’s why their Tailteann Cup game against Cavan — although it might not “take off like a meteorite” — will still be a huge deal.

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