By Michael McMullan
KILCOO assistant manager Conleith Gilligan has backed Darragh O’Hanlon to put his experience into coaching following his forced retirement from football at the age of 28.
The former club and county captain, last week, made public his decision to retire following a litany of injuries.
“He is a great lad and a very big miss for everybody in the club,” Gilligan told Gaelic Life. “Plying his trade at full-back, Darragh was ccoming up to take free kicks and penalties, he could’ve probably played anywhere.
“I would imagine once it all settles down, he will be involved in coaching and being involved around Kilcoo, because that’s what they do.”
Gilligan came on board when Mickey Moran took over as manager in November 2018 and O’Hanlon missed most of the 2019 season with a back injury before making in back to play a part in their Down championship success the following year.
“He was making really good progress and he was getting back to his best. This year, he played in the league cup competition and the knee gave way on him away.
“That was first year, 2019, he was due to play on the Monday night against Rostrevor and he done his cruciate and then he came back after the cruciate for a couple of games and this year the knee went again.
“It was his standard of living that was suffering more so than anything else and once you get to that stage, it is very difficult. He had to make that call.
“He is young, he is 28 but he was able to cram more into those 28 years than most players in a lifetime and he will look back on that very fondly; He was a massive part of the team from the very start.
“He broke into Down teams and he captained Kilcoo teams in his early twenties. Not everybody can do that it and just shows how good he was.”