Preparing for an Ulster Minor Championship final should not be so troublesome for Killybegs player, Eoghan Bán Gallagher.
His father, John Bán, has been there before him. The gentle giant of Killybegs football ruled the roost at midfield for club and county and won an Ulster Minor League and Championship medal in a talented team in 1985.
Now there is another Bán on the scene as Eoghan is hoping to follow in his father’s big footsteps.
Eoghan, known as just Bán by his teammates, has had a very impressive season with the Donegal minors, forming a very competent half-back line alongside the slick Cian Mulligan and a centre half-back in the Martin Gavigan mould, Tony McClenaghan of Moville.
“It has been a good year alright. We won the Ulster League and I played in the county final last year. I have learned a lot. We have not been going too well with the club (Killybegs) so it is nice to come here and get something different.
“The county minors is a very good environment,” said the student of St. Catherine’s Vocational School, who has just completed his Leaving Cert,” said Eoghan.
He is hoping that the results go well and he plans to go to DCU in Dublin to pursue a maths course.
“Thank God the exams are over. It was tough trying to balance everything, different pressures from different people,” said Eoghan smiling.
He has been part of a Donegal minor panel that has been very well prepared this year by manager Declan Bonner.
“We started very early; we started around November when Declan got the whole squad together. I think that is why we started so well in the league. Maybe we had a wee bit more work done than other teams and it carried through.
“We have done well at U-17 and U-16 level and we were confident that we could compete anyway. Declan, as manager, is experienced. He has prepared a senior team for an Ulster final so he is the best man for the job.
“There was a good few of us on the minor panel from last year, so we had a good squad together for this year.”
He agrees that the team gained much confidence from overcoming Tyrone twice in the Minor League.
“That was great. We knew that Tyrone were one of the favourites, getting to the All-Ireland final last year so we knew they were going to be big competition, so it was good to beat them twice.”
The Killybegs man is looking forward to renewing rivalry with Armagh.
“I played at centre half-forward against Armagh in the Minor League semi-final but I would prefer to play in the half-back line, but if the team needs me to do a job, I’m prepared to do it,” said Eoghan Ban.
“They were very tough for long periods of the game. They were very well set up. We had to be a wee bit more patient than before. We waited a long time to get the first score and then we were prepared to wait for the scores to come.
“We were missing a few that day. Niall Harley wasn’t playing; Jamie Brennan wasn’t playing. There is always competition for places, in the first fifteen and also in the 24,” said Eoghan Ban.
The Killybegs man was a doubtful starter for the opening game against Derry with a hamstring injury, but got through what he felt was a difficult game.
“Against Derry we didn’t panic. On other days, other minor teams might have folded. We got subs off the bench and they made a big difference,” said Eoghan
Asked about how a defender copes with the Black Card, he is very philosophical:
“It depends on the referee, some referees take a different opinion on it. I think you still have to go in and tackle the way you are coached and if the referee takes a different opinion, then there’s not much you can do,” says Eoghan.
He is looking forward to a big day in Clones, especially with the two Donegal teams in the final.
“With the seniors playing, it should be a good day out for everybody. It will make it a better experience for us, maybe, when we go on to play U-21 and senior. We will be more used to a bigger crowd then.”