Tom Comack email@example.com @dgldemocrat
Young Donegal Gaelic footballer Peadar Mogan may still be in his teenage years but he has already etched his name in Donegal football history.
A Leaving Cert student at Abbey Vocational School and a member of the St Naul’s GAA club, Peadar turned 18 at the start of the year.
He is also an Ulster Minor League and Championship winner with Donegal from 2016 and is captain of this year’s Donegal minor team.
And a few weeks ago Peadar picked up an Ulster Schools’ GAA All-Star, a first Ulster Schools All-Star from the Abbey Vocational School and a first award winner too from the Donegal Vocational and Community School sector.
Niall O’Donnell, St Eunan’s College, was also named on the 2016 Ulster Schools’ All-Stars.
But Niall is following in a long line of Schools’ All-Stars from the Letterkenny nursery.
The St Eunan’s past winners are Mark McGowan, Hugh Brendan Kerr, Sean McEwen, Michael Murphy, Ciaran Cannon, Shaun Patton and Cormac Callaghan.
“I’m the first player from Abbey because last year was the first year that players from the Abbey and other schools from other than those that played in Ulster College competitions were considered,” explained Peadar.
“But last year with the Ulster Colleges and the Ulster Vocational Schools amalgamating players from Abbey and other schools were allowed to go for trials.
“The schools who played in the MacRory Cup were allowed to send four players to the trials and the schools like the Abbey were allowed to send two players.
“Over the first two days up to 140 players took part in the trials and they were whittled down to two teams for the third and final trial.
“I made the cut and played in the final trial and thankfully came through that and was named on the team. I played at right half-forward in all the trials and was named on the team at right half-forward. Niall was named on the other wing at left half-forward.
“The team was named just before Christmas and we were all brought to Belfast a few days later for a special reception and then we had the presentation a few weeks ago in the Europa Hotel, Belfast.
“We had a great night and it was a great honour for me and the schools and Donegal football to have two players on the team.”
For Peadar it was the perfect end to an almost perfect year that saw him add a Markey Cup winners’ medal with Abbey and an Ulster Minor League and Ulster Minor Championship winner with Donegal.
“It was a good year and except for the defeat to Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final it was almost a perfect year and the winning of the All-Star was the perfect end to 2016.”
Pauric O’Donnell is one of Peadar’s teachers and is also his football coach. And it came as no surprise at all to Pauric that Peadar was named in the team.
“He is a brilliant footballer and he really works hard at his game and he is very dedicated,” said O’Donnell.
“He is also a versatile player. He was named in the half-forward line but he can literally play in any position. He has played in defence and in the forward line for the county minors and we have played him in a number of positions including centre half-back,” added O’Donnell, who went on to say that off the field Peadar was a model student and all his peers in the school look up to him.
It all began for Peadar, as it does for all young footballers, at club level and in Peadar’s case that club was St Naul’s.
His father Peter and Donie McCole, at club level and Brian McGeehan, Shaun Paul Barrett, when he moved up to county level, have been the big influences on his football career to date.
“My dad and Donie McCole did a massive amount of work with me at club level. They really encouraged me and then when I joined the county U-16s I had a close relationship with Brian McGeehin.
“Shaun Paul Barrett has been very good to me too. He has a very professional approach and he wants to do well for Donegal.
“Shaun Paul has Neilly Byrne along with him and they are constantly advising and telling you ways to improve your game.
“The minors did well last year and we are hoping to do well again this year and after a shaky start and losing a couple of games things seem to be coming together.
“It is a new team with only a couple of us still around from last year’s team. But we have won our last two games and are looking forward to playing Armagh in the Shield final on Saturday.
“And then we have the championship against Antrim to look forward too.”
Peadar is the Donegal minor captain this season.
He played soccer in his younger days but from an early age Gaelic football was the number one and was always going to be his first choice sport.
“I played a lot of soccer when I was younger but I opted to concentrate on Gaelic, because from when I was very young I set my sights on playing for Donegal.
“I suppose that came about from going to games with my dad and I was always interested in the minor games.
“And I hoped one day that I would play for the minors and I set it as my target and worked hard on my game to achieve that.”
Michael Murphy and Karl Lacey and the 2014 Donegal minor team are Peadar’s role models.
“The 2014 minor team are the first Donegal minor team to reach an All-Ireland final and Karl Lacey and Michael Murphy are the perfect role models. They are so professional and really work hard on their game and are totally dedicated to playing for Donegal.
“They are the players you most want to be like and do everything they do to achieve success.”
Peadar is the eldest of three boys in the family of Peter and Siobhan Mogan. His brothers are Oisin 11, who is already beginning to make his mark with St Naul’s, and Cian, who is 5.
Peadar’s father, Peter, played for St Naul’s but never made it to play for Donegal.
However, his grandfather Cyril Mogan, who is still hale and hearty at 84, played minor hurling for Galway.
Cyril Mogan from Claregalway, moved to live and work in Donegal in the 1960s.