An 18-year old second-level student from Kilcar might be expected to see more of Donegal than elsewhere in the county this weather, but Paddy McBrearty has been a busy beaver of late and yesterday was on hand to launch the Cadbury’s All-Ireland Under 21 Championship at Croke Park.
McBrearty was in good company as he joined fellow U-21 and indeed senior players in the form of Tipperary’s Michael Quinlivan and Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor for the event, which also heralded the announcement of a three-year extension to Cadbury’s sponsorship of the competition.
Six games in 10 days and an AFL trial to boot last week in Dublin - coming to an end of a busy period for McBrearty on the sporting front.
“Without a doubt (it has been busy) but it’s all part and parcel of it,” he said yesterday.
“It’s what you live for and what the GAA is about and I’m not complaining, as long as the games keep coming. It would be bad if I had no games. They are all very important games and a lot of pressurised games, so it’s a good sign.”
On the U-21 championship there is always huge potential in every Ulster county going out and certainly it’s never a given that a certain team will win on any given day. McBrearty expects minor form from three years ago to carry in the initial stages and that Tyrone will account for neighbours Fermanagh in the opening round on March 15 to set up a quarter-final tie with the Tir Chonaill men a week later at MacCumhaill Park.
“On the game in the next couple of weeks, we have the winners of Tyrone and Fermanagh,” he said.
“I feel that Tyrone will come through that. They won the All-Ireland three years ago in the Minor grade. It looks as if they have a good enough team this year, they are going hard at it.
“They have a lot of boys from that U-21 team on the McKenna Cup panel. I would say they would be strong enough. A couple of lads like Ronan O’Neill. They have top class forwards.
“We should give it a rattle. We are training hard, we have had a couple of challenge matches in the last couple of weeks so hopefully we can give it a go.
“It’s a home game in Ballybofey to, a home ground which can hopefully we a good benefit to us.”
McBrearty is also high in his praise of U-21 boss Maxi Curran, who took over from Jim McGuinness last month.
“I think we have a good man in charge in Maxi Curran. He was under Jim when we got to the All-Ireland U-21 final two years ago. He was involved last year with the Donegal Senior team as well. Maxi has a lot of knowledge on the game and he knows what players are up to it and what players aren’t. I think we have the right man in charge.”