Lorcan Connor is all out to maintain an Ulster minor championship final tradition when Donegal face Armagh, in Sunday’s Ulster minor final.
Lorcan’s dad, Kevin ‘Cookie’ Gallagher played minor football for Donegal and was a member of the 1991 Donegal side that defeated Tyrone in the Ulster final. His uncle John Connor is also a former county minor from the early ‘90s too.
“It is nice to have a family that played Gaelic football and to have someone to look up to and hopefully, I can compete now with dad. He has won one and hopefully we can go on now and win against Armagh on Sunday, so I can win one too,” said the young Downings’ ace.
Lorcan sprung on to the county scene last season after a number of seasons in development squads and the county Under 16s. The current minor manager Declan Bonner was his under 16 manager.
“I made the Northern Development squad at under 15 and I made the county under 16 squad the following year when I was sixteen. But I was only a squad member and only got the occasional run out as a sub in the Buncrana Cup.
“Last year’s minor team was the first time I made the team on a regular basis.”
The Downings teenager was ever present in the number 11 shirt in Donegal’s 2013 run to the Ulster Minor League final defeat to Monaghan.
And that Monaghan defeat was followed by an early exit from the minor championship when going down 1-3 to 1-9 against Tyrone, in Ballybofey.
“It wasn’t a nice day to look back on. Tyrone beat us by six points in that game on a day we weren’t clinical enough up front. It was a strange game. We enjoyed a good deal of possession but it was that we weren’t clinical enough in front of goals. I think we shot something like 19 or 20 wides and in championship football you simply can’t do that and hope to win.”
So far 2014 has gone much better for Lorcan and Donegal. They have won the county’s first Ulster Minor League title in eight seasons. They defeated Tyrone, in the final and they followed that win over the Red Hands with victories over Derry and Antrim in the championship to make it all the way to the final.
“It was nice to win the league but come championship football it doesn’t count for much.
“The championship is at another leveland how you do in the championship which matters.
“The league is about building for the championship and in our case this year, Derry, in the first round. That was our first target and when we got over Derry, Antrim were the next target.
“When we beat Antrim our thoughts turned to Armagh and the final. It is all now about getting ourselves right for Armagh and nothing else is on our minds. Nobody in the squad is looking past Armagh.
“Confidence has grown with the wins over Derry and Antrim and everybody has opened up more and there is a greater bond among the squad. We are not just team mates, we are all friends and it is a good place to be and there is a great atmosphere in the camp.
“We may have been favourites against Antrim in the semi-final but we did not look on it like that. After a pretty even first half we pulled away in the second and won comfortably enough to make it through to the final.
“It’s nice to be in the final but I don’t think any of us are sitting around and thinking look at us we are in an Ulster final. It is a case of now that we are in the final it is about pushing on and winning it.”
“Armagh are well organised. We found them very hard to break down when we played them in the league. It took us it took us 25 minutes to get our first score on the board. Hopefully, we will get the wheels turning a little earlier this time around.”