TWENTY-EIGHT times Kevin O’Boyle has pulled on the Saffron jersey and represented his county in championship battle.
Twenty-eight times he has felt the butterflies starting to cause mischief in his stomach, 28 times he has felt the tension grow as the throw-in to a big Antrim game approached.
Sure, it would be easy to discount three of those appearances because they were in the Tommy Murphy Cup, but they brought his only Croke Park appearance in championship football – and his only cup too as the Saffrons downed Wicklow in the 2008 final.
Game 29 will arrive this Saturday as Lenny Harbinson’s side make the trip to Newry to face Down, and O’Boyle can’t wait to feel the nerves bubble up again.
“Whenever I started as a young teenager in 2007 I was nervous and I was excited,” said the Cargin defender.
“I had a real buzz for the Ulster game against Derry that year, and I still get that same feeling even now.
“We’re playing a stellar team in Down, a traditional powerhouse of the Ulster Championship and they got to the final last year.
“Alright, they may not have had the best National League campaign but we know what they bring to championship football.
“You want to pit your wits against the best players and I’m fortunate to get the opportunity to do that.”
The full interview with Kevin O’Boyle is in this week’s Gaelic Life, in shops now or available here.