Hanging up the boots
I probably played a year more than what I should’ve, it was getting too hard. I’ve got a bad back that’s been at me four or five years, my hips are starting to give in as well probably from the injections I had playing for Tyrone in the glory days that were quick fixes to get you out on the pitch. So I think they’ve come back to haunt me in the last few years and I probably should’ve hung up the boots after we won the London championship two years ago.
We left a few All-Ireland’s behind us
I came out of the minor and Under 21’s with Mickey Harte and people were talking about this conveyor belt of talent and we didn’t transform it onto All Ireland Sam Maguire glory but you always think about the ones that you lost, not about the ones you won.
We definitely left a few behind us, maybe 2004 was the main one due to Cormac McAnallen dying.
It was a big factor but we used that as a crutch and an excuse and maybe we shouldn’t have. It was a massive, massive blow to the county. Not just as a footballer but also as a lad, he was a super lad.
Other years as well, players weren’t buying into it, and I was one of those as well. The wheels came off the wagon a couple of years – partying too much and having the craic, you sometimes find that you’re not getting on and you just kind of pull other boys with you.
We were team-mates but we were friends as well. If we went out drinking together, you’re covering each other’s back. Probably a few of the players did that more often and when managers find that out it’s not really a good thing.
2003 when Peter (Canavan) went up and lifted the first All-Ireland. And the first time we won the Intermediate All-Ireland for Cookstown. We never did that before. We had always come close to winning championships and things like that. But to actually go up the steps with your teammates who you grew up with, was special.