Ahead of our Intermediate Championship final we took a few minutes with club senior manager Shane Mulholland.
Who was your GAA hero?
Maurice Fitzgerald. I loved the way he played. He has 2 great feet, he was never in a hurry and everything seemed stylish.
If you could invite 3 Guests to a dinner party who would they be?
Well you need someone to keep the craic going and I was always a big Billy Connolly fan. You need some music, and I’ll get a bit of slagging for this but I’d have Michael Jackson, and for something to look at, I’ve a particular fondness for Alesha Dixon.
Best advice you ever received as a footballer?
Move the ball quickly. When you don’t need a solo or a bounce don’t take it. The ball will always move faster than the player.
Favourite memory in your GAA career?
Winning the 1999 Ulster semi final when we came back from 6 points behind Tyrone at half time to win by 4. The feeling of hope that went with that and what lay ahead. I also remember meeting my father on the sideline in Casement Park after the game and that was a special moment.
Conversely, what’s the biggest regret of your sporting career?
In terms of a particular game was the 1999 Ulster final where Armagh hammered us, it may sound silly but I think with 7/8 all Ireland winning players and Pete McGrath, a manager who knew how to win all Irelands guiding us, we could have given Meath a much better game in the semi final than Armagh did.
I also regret that my Down career was so short. I should have stopped the soccer and concentrated on Gaelic. Instead of having a 3 or 4 year down career I maybe could have had 9 or 10 years playing county football.
Best player you have ever played against and/or with?
Funny I saw him highlighted somewhere recently but the best player I played against was James Nallan of Mayo closely followed by Dublin’s Paul Curran. For the best I played with I’d have to say Wee James (McCartan) … his brain just thought quicker than anyone else on a field.
Have you any superstitions?
Just wee funny things. For instance if I wear a particular pair of tracksuit bottoms and we lose a match then I won’t wear them again.
Most important skill in Gaelic football
Kick pass, Kick pass, Kick pass!!! There is a time and place for hand passes but as a coach now working with players I bemoan the fact that a lot only see 30/40 metres ahead. Give me the player with the vision to see and execute a 50/60metre kick pass and he will really stand out.
Jack Nicholson is my favourite actor and for a film definitely Schindler’s list. I love that film.
I enjoy trying to play golf, though I don’t get a lot of time. Between work, taking Rostrevor and 4 kids including a 6 month old baby at home it’s hard to justify going away for 4 or 5 hours at the weekend for golf. But with the kids now playing football and camogie everything else seems to revolve around GAA so I’d say golf is my only other hobby.
Best Excuse you have ever used or heard used for missing training?
The best I used was that my car broke down one night on the way to county training in Ballykinlar. Safe to say Pete McGrath wasn’t too amused. The best two I heard were both with Ballyholland. Colly Barry, who works at SCA packaging in Warrenpoint said he pulled his hamstring walking to training. And the other one would be Matty Shields, who is now my brother in law, who told our manager he missed training as he was getting his house blessed. Now he isn’t they most religious and house blessings aren’t done on Sunday mornings so as far as likely people to miss for a particular reason go, that one tops the pile.