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Killyman’s Declan Mc Alinden Takes On The Nang Q And A

Tuesday 16.06.2020
Team Talk Mag


This week it’s the turn of Killyman player Declan Mc Alinden to tackle our weekly Q and A. Enjoy.

  1. Earliest GAA memory.


Going to the Tyrone GAA summer camps in O’Neill Park when I was cub. It was the highlight of the summer and I made many friends there from the local clubs who would later become rivals on the field. Also underage training on Saturday mornings while our new club pitch was being developed, we had a temporary training pitch set up in a field across the road that you would normally have found cows grazing in.

2. Was your family a traditional GAA family?

I would definitely think so. My dad Jim would have played football for Killyman and Clonmore in County Armagh. His brother Frank was one of the founder members of the current Killyman club. Both of them along with another brother Dan are all former players and chairmen of Killyman. My mum and older sister would have played Camogie for Killyman as well when we had a team back in the day and my uncles on that side of the family would all have played football for Clonmore.

3. The best GAA venue you have been to?

The obvious one is Croke Park, as good as any stadium you will find anywhere. You can’t beat an Ulster final day in Clones though for the craic and the atmosphere.

4. School participation and/or success.

Coming through the Academy, I think our school year would have been one of the strongest and most successful teams ever came out of the school. I would have been on the fringes of some squads and in and out in various school years but being the smallest in my year at about 3 foot tall until I was near 18 I didn’t play much.

5. Club/ County role models that you looked up to as a youth

As far as county goes as a young lad growing up in Tyrone in the 90s, I think nearly everyone idolised and wanted to be the next Peter Canavan.

In my own club Stevie Donnelly was the main man who would have coached many of the young lads the skills of the game we first started playing. I had the privilege of growing up watching and eventually playing alongside many great players in what was a very successful period for Killyman. The most naturally gifted footballer I ever played with was Finty McVeigh. The most complete footballer and influential player would have to have been Paul McVeigh, he may be past 40 now but he could still throw on the boots. As a defender the player who I would have looked up to most coming through into the senior team would have been Decky Boyle.

6. Other sports that you played or had an interest in.

I have been playing soccer in the local leagues for many years and on the odd occasion would have played matches for both on the same day but I think my days of being able to do that are long gone at this stage. I am still playing with Westend Hibs FC in the Mid Ulster League. Other sporting interests to play would be darts, snooker and golf when I get the time.

7. Most difficult opponent you have faced in club football and why?

That’s a tough one, there’s been many over the years. I have come up against quite a few quality forwards although one that sticks out in my mind is Darren McCurry. His sharp turn of pace and accuracy from both sides is a nightmare for any defender.

8. Best player you have ever seen play Gaelic football

There’s a right few contenders with the likes of Padraig Joyce, Declan O’Sullivan, Colm Cooper and Diarmuid Connolly but I’m going to show my Tyrone bias again here, can’t look beyond Peter Canavan.

9. Are you a fan of the recent rule changes?

I think sometimes they try to over complicate things when it comes to rule changes and it often does more harm than good. Referees have enough on their plates without having to deal with all the extra things constantly being thrown in.

We haven’t had a great opportunity yet this season to trial the new rules but I wouldn’t be a big fan of the advanced mark. I think it’s too much like Aussie Rules and will make the game more stop/start once teams begin to utilize it. I think the black card change to a sin bin rather than an enforced substitution would be a welcome one for players though.

10. The best GAA match that you ever saw.

There have been many cracking county games over the years to chose from. The All Ireland semi final of 2003 was a pivotal day for Tyrone though, when they bullied Kerry around Croke Park and brought a level of intensity that had probably never been seen before. It was a coming of age for a young team and a day Tyrone signalled they were ready to win an All Ireland.

At club level it would have to be the 2007 Intermediate championship final against Moortown. Coming in sitting bottom of the league and rank outsiders against the team sitting top of the league. If we lost that day we were down to Junior but managed to defy the odds and win which sent us straight up to Senior football.

11. Are you a fan of academies/development squads? Why

I think they are a good thing as long as there is no interference with club or college football. It’s a great opportunity and achievement for any young player to be involved with a development squad and an experience that they can only benefit from as footballers.

12. Your own involvement around the club.

I have been a part of the club committee for the majority of my senior career. I served a couple of years as club treasurer and have previously been club youth officer. I have also helped out with youth coaching, taken part in various club fundraising events and stage productions as well as having represented the club in Scór.

13. How important is the GAA in your community?

I think the GAA has a pivotal role to play in any community. It helps to bring people together from a young age through the sports, cultural events and club functions or even just having the facilities provided for use with other community activities. It’s great to see so many people from different backgrounds getting involved with the GAA and I think this should be actively encouraged in all communities.

14. Favourite county jersey (not Tyrone)


15. Are you a fan of penalties to decide the outcome of championship games?

Absolutely not. I don’t think any player would be happy to decide a championship game like that. It’s not fair on players who have trained hard all year to have the outcome of their biggest game of the season decided in such a way. Better organisation of fixture schedules would free up time for replays and if it must be decided on the day, then it should be by playing football even if there is a further extra time period.



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