Ciaráin swaps Rossies for Boston this summer
While the entire county of Roscommon will be waiting on tenderhooks to see who we will be meeting in the Super 8s next week, one of the best players that we have seen in the primrose and blue jersey over the past decade, and who would be an automatic choice on the team, will be watching from Boston in the USA.
Ciaráin Murtagh captained Roscommon to win the Connacht Championship in 2017 and a very strong case can be made that he has been Roscommon’s best forward over the past five years. But five years of all-year-round training, travelling and playing games took its toll, and he wanted a break. His opportunity to take a step back arrived at the end of last season with the arrival of a new management team.
Ciaráin didn’t play in any of the National League games this year and although he played with his club St. Faithleach’s, he arranged to travel to Boston for the summer. A teacher by profession, he left Ireland last Saturday morning and expects to be back in time for the new school year.
Many Roscommon fans would say that if Ciaráin was in the attack alongside ‘little brother’ Diarmuid and new arrival Conor Cox that Roscommon would be very serious All-Ireland contenders. However, the Ballyleague man is very happy with the decision he has taken and he hopes to be back in the primrose and blue in the very near future, refreshed and ready to go again.
People Sport caught up with Ciaráin last Thursday night ahead of his trip to the USA.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m going to Boston and will play a bit of football there as well,” he said.
Diarmuid Connolly was expected to travel but recently hit a snag due to visa issues. Ciaráin still held out some hope that the Dubs star would make it.
“I’m not sure what the set-up is but if we (Connolly and himself) do manage to team up it would be great, but we will see how it pans out,” he said.
Among his confirmed teammates on the Boston (Donegal) team are Mark Connellan of Westmeath, Mark Bradley from Tyrone and Gary Walsh from Laois.
Ciaráin is very comfortable that he made the right decision at the right time to step back from the inter-county game.
“I have no regrets whatsoever on what I’ve decided. I felt I needed a break after all the training and travelling. When you don’t enjoy what you are doing it’s time to take a look at it and I just wanted time to re-charge the batteries. In fact, it’s something that I probably should have done before now.
“I have had some great years with Roscommon since 2014 but there was a new managerial set-up coming and it was the right time to step back. It was certainly no reflection on any manager or the set-up. My mind was made up when last season finished for Roscommon. It would not have been fair for me to go back playing and training if my mind wasn’t 100%...I just needed time away from it.
“I have been at the majority of the (Roscommon) games this year and it is great to see the team going so well. I am just as enthusiastic about Roscommon winning as if I was playing myself, and with Diarmuid back now I am thrilled that they are doing so well,” he said.
So how does he think Roscommon will do in the Super 8s?
“I think we will do very well. It’s difficult to talk about the matches when we don’t know the draw yet, but the way Roscommon are set up this year means that they will be very difficult to beat. We look a really good side but there are tough challenges ahead. It’s great to have a home game first; a win in that game would be huge.
“Naturally I’m very friendly with the lads on the team and I was so thrilled that they won the Connacht title. They played some great football against Mayo and Galway. I’ll be watching the Super 8 matches in Boston,” he said.
So what does the future hold? Will we see Ciaráin back in the primrose and blue again in future?
“Oh I expect to be back. If the management at the time want me and think I have something to contribute then I would love to go back at some stage. I just wanted a break to re-fresh and re-group and I will be able to do that this summer. It’s my intention to play again but I need this break first – but needless to say, I will be wishing the lads the very best of luck this summer,” he said.
Ciaráin was obviously delighted to see brother Diarmuid back to full fitness after a tough year with a serious eye injury.
“I’m delighted for Diarmuid, It was this time last year he got the eye injury so it’s been a long recovery period but thankfully he is going well again”.
Ciaráin is really looking forward to the summer break in Boston but he will be keeping a close eye on the Super 8s and in particular the performance of Roscommon. And no doubt Roscommon fans are looking forward to seeing him in the Roscommon jersey once again in the future!