Big John defies father time in man of the match performance

Big John defies father time in man of the match  performance
John Haran, the veteran St Eunan’s full-forward, who turns 38 on Tuesday, turned in a man of the match performance as he won his seventh Donegal Senior Championship title.

John Haran, the veteran St Eunan’s full-forward, who turns 38 on Tuesday, turned in a man of the match performance as he won his seventh Donegal Senior Championship title.

John himself disputes that number and always claims the 1997 medal which he won on the playing field when St Eunan’s defeated Aodh Ruadh. But the result was subsequently overturned in the boardroom over. “I have played in 12 finals and I only lost four of them so you can do the sums,” said a delighted big John at the final whistle as he hailed the team manager and his teammates. “It’s unbelievable. Maxi is the man. He is the magician. When nobody else wanted to manage us he took on the job. He is absolutely brilliant he is the man and now we are champions.

“When we started out at the start of the year nobody gave us a chance. For the first time in my 20 years playing senior football with the club we ranked as complete outsiders.”

And the St Eunan’s veteran could hardly hold back his emotions as he reckoned that the 0-9 to 0-6 victory was right up there with all the other county final victories he had experienced.

“It is brilliant to be champions once again after playing against and beating the reigning champions with two All-Stars, Neil Gallagher and Michael Murphy.

“I couldn’t believe when after ten minutes Maxi said to m,e mark Neil Gallagher. Imagine me at 38 marking an All-Star; it is not easy. But I did and we ground out the result.”

But he also insisted that it was as tough a final as he had played in and was every bit as hard won as all the ones that had gone before.

“It was a tough game and that is what we expected. But we had confidence in our own fitness and in our own legs and Maxi had the system.

“The boys were composed on the ball though I thought we gave away a lot of ball in the second half and we shouldn’t have.

“But we got over the line. I thought Rory Kavanagh was brilliant in the last few minutes fieldig those big high balls back in our own goal area. Eamon Doherty marking Michael Murphy, not an easy job. But fair play to him he stuck to the task and I thought he had a good game. But fair play to all the boys, they all played well and it was a mighty team performance.

“We had a tough year listening to Glenswilly who were great champions. They are our neighbours; they raised the standard to an unbelievably high level and we had to match them. Thank God we matched them today and came out on top.”