There is a considerable distance between filling a seat on the bench and being feted as man of the match but that’s a journey which Stefan Campbell undertook with aplomb last Sunday.
Having spent the season to date as a bit-part player, Campbell’s emergence from the shadows was stunning.
The absence of Ciaran Mackin, Tiernan Kelly and Niall Grimley had seriously diminished the selection options open to manager Kieran McGeeney but when he handed Campbell a starting shirt immediately prior to the All-Ireland Qualifier against Tyrone in front of a packed Athletic Grounds it was to prove a masterstroke.
From the outset, Campbell stamped his authority on the contest to such an extent that a tranche of man-markers found it impossible to contain him.
If Tyrone’s defenders were left floundering in his wake, then Campbell’s rampaging forays will not have gone unnoticed by Donegal strongman Eoghan Ban Gallagher who is likely to go head-to-head with the Lurgan dynamo this afternoon.
And to say that Campbell is primed for the challenge would be to delve into the realms of understatement.
“It was great to be back in the team from the start against Tyrone but this match against Donegal is another massive challenge,” declares Campbell.
“We set out our stall against Tyrone and then took things from there. But that win over Tyrone would count for nothing if we don’t do well against Donegal.
“They have beaten us in the League and Championship to date this year so now we are getting the opportunity to redress the balance but this won’t be easy because they are a quality team.”
Campbell is in no doubt that the game will go down to the wire.
“Both sides will be passionately committed to winning because this is an all or nothing game. We want to try and reach the All-Ireland Quarter-Finals and really show that we are a top quality side in the process,” insists Campbell.