ALL-IRELAND SEMI BUILD-UP: Eamonn Collum wants to play in Croke Park on St Patrick's Day


Peter Campbell


Peter Campbell

ALL-IRELAND SEMI BUILD-UP:  Eamonn Collum wants to play in Croke Park on St Patrick's Day

For Eamonn Collum this has been a perfect year, breaking into the first team and playing a big part in the run to the All-Ireland final, and playing alongside the experienced Kevin Cassidy in the full-foward line.
"I had a good league campaign this year and we won the league as well. I was lucky to get my spot in the corner with Kevin Cassidy beside me. Everyone knows who Kevin Cassidy is and how good he is so it is good to play alongside Kevin," said Eamonn, who agrees that Cassidy coming back was huge.
"Definitely. You can see all year through the league and championship, how much of an asset he is. He is the main cog of the forward line, you could say.
"His physical presence is brilliant. He can win ball in the air or the dirty 50/50 ball."
But while it has been great getting to the All-Ireland semi-final, Eamonn is mindful of the tragedy that has befell the club in recent weeks.
"It's been building this week throughout the whole parish. It will give a big lift to the parish after what happened two weeks ago. A big loss to the three parishes, we can't forget that," says Eamonn, who said he was friendly with all four of the boys who lost their lives.
"At that stage there was nothing going through the heads except the poor families and friends. So we have a big chance to lift up the three parishes again."
Asked about Corofin, he obviously has been doing the homework. "The Galway champions are excellent. Even looking back last year sitting down watching them in the All-Ireland final, you always dreamt of playing them and here we are now playing them. Their strength is ridiculously good, in the forward line, all the way back to the half-back line. Anyone can kick a score for them.
"We have experience ourselves. Probably Kevin (Cassidy) is the oldest player on the team. He won't be happy I'm saying that. But you need the experience alongside the younger lads. We had a young team last year going out against Glenties (in county semi-final) and you seen what happened there. This year we had a mix of experience and young lads and you see where we are now."
Eamonn points to losing the Donegal semi-final in 2017 as being one of the big turning points for the club and he says they have used that hurt.
"Especially for the fact that we hadn't been this far (winning county) since 06. Being there last year and getting so far and we were winning by six points at half-time and going down and losing then was not nice at all.
"That day we said in the dressing room that we want to be back here next year and make sure we were winning it."
This year they have had many leaders with different players doing the business.
"It's a different man that steps up. It just shows you the experience of the team. Any man can do a job, even the subs, whoever comes on."
He agrees that Gaoth Dobhair might need a goal to be successfull in the semi-final. "We might need a goal. Goals do win games, you could see that against Crossmaglen when Dáire (Ó Baoill) got the three goals. At the end of the day it's 60 minutes between us and hopefully, we can look forward to Paddy's Day in Croker.
"That's the aim, to be there on Paddy's Day with the club," said Collum.


See also: Dáire Ó Baoill and the need for goals in the semi-final