After a couple of season on the championship bench Martin O’Reilly,finally was given his championship head against Tyrone.
“It was very exciting to be a part of it and making the team and especially in MacCumhaill Park, my home pitch,” said Martin.
Last year and the year before Martin sat on the bench right through Donegal’s run to the All-Ireland final. His only championship game time last season was in the closing seconds of All-Ireland quarter-final victory over Sunday’s opponents Armagh.
On the back of a number of decent performances in the Allianz league, Martin made the Donegal attack for last month’s preliminary round clash with Tyrone.
“If you look at Frank McGlynn, who is one of the most consistent players in Ulster if not in the country at present, Frank sat on the bench for a number of years. It served Frank well and hopefully it will be as kind to me too.
“You learn so much from being in the panel and getting some game time but realistically you don’t train three to four nights a week to sit on the bench.”
Martin(pictured) is living and working in Dublin. He graduated from Marino Institute of Education last year with a Bachelor in Education.
He teaches fourth class at St Brigid’s NS in Castleknock,and along with Laois midfielder John O’Loughlin, coached St Brigid’s senior team to a Dublin Division One Cuman Na mBunscol title.
He trains once a week in Dublin with the rest of the Dublin based members- Paul Durcan, Hugh McFadden and Paddy McGrath. “It is difficult being away from home. Rory (Gallagher) does not see you every Tuesday or Thursday night. But you have to keep plugging away and when you do get the chance you have to put your best foot forward.
“Ultimately, you have to keep working hard and that is all you can do and hope that everything goes well for you when you get on.”
He also tries to get back to Donegal once a week to train with the rest of the squad.
“This time of the year when the weather is good you don’t mind going down. I’m lucky, I’m a teaching here in Dublin and I finish school at 2.30
“If you’re not playing regularly it is more difficult but for me it is so far so good and I’m enjoying going down and I’m really enjoying the training as well.”
Martin was replaced by Mark McHugh against Tyrone after picking up a yellow card early in the opening half.
“I picked a yellow card early and it limited me in what I could get involved in afterwards. You always have it in the back of your mind, one more rash challenge and you are off so I had no problem with being replaced. If you put your arms around someone and they go to ground you could find yourself in bother and before you know it you are sitting in the dugout and your team is down to 14 men.
“I understand Rory’s reason for replacing me, it is all for the good of the team and that is the most important thing.”
As for making the starting 15 for Sunday’s shoot-out in the Athletic Grounds, Martin is of the same philosophical view.
“Hopefully, I will make the team for Armagh. I have trained hard but I’ll understand if I’m not in the first 15; I’ll be sitting in the subs bench ready to go if I’m called on.
“There is no point if you do not make the starting team to be holding a grudge; it is just a matter of accepting it and being ready to go out and do your best for the team if you get the call.
“If that has to be my role on Sunday, I’ll be more than happy because ultimately the goal is to get the result against Armagh.”