My GAA Life

John Haran looks back at his career for both club and county

Name? John Haran

Which teams did you represent?

St Eunan’s, Letterkenny, St Jarlath’s, Tuam, St Mary’s College, Belfast, Donegal, Armagh Notre Dame in Boston for three summers and the Donegal Masters.

What is your current involvement with the GAA?

I’m currently the vice-chairman of St Eunan’s and coaching the club’s u-7s.

What was your greatest moment in the GAA?

Probably captaining St Eunan’s to the 2007 Donegal Senior Championship or getting Man of the Match in the 2014 county final against Glenswilly. A childhood dream was to play in Croke Park and I was lucky enough to do that and score a point against Galway in the 2003 All-Ireland quarter-final.

What was the most surprising moment in your career?

Getting picked ahead of Christy Toye for Donegal’s opening game against Cavan in 2002 Ulster Championship. The Tuesday night before the game I saw Mickey Moran talking with Christy on the pitch, I was sure he was telling him he was on. Mickey names the team after training and I’m no. 10. I was shocked, Mickey was obviously telling Christy he wasn’t on. Anyway I got sent off in the first half on my debut and Christy took my place for the next game and the rest is history, as they say.

Who was the best player you ever played with?

Michael Donnellan in St Jarlath’s, he went on to be Player of the Year in 1998.

What was the best score you ever saw in a game you were involved in?

Probably my goal in the 1999 Donegal county final against Ballyshannon. I stuck it in the top corner from 30 yards out near the end of the game. Look it up on YouTube. (I was about 10 yards out and it wasn’t the top corner).

Which manager made the biggest impact on you and why?

Impossible to say because they all had their positives and there was so many.

What was the best piece of advice you ever received about playing?

Play as long as you can, you will be retired long enough.

What was the best thing about playing in your era?

The best thing was that there were no two-hour meetings on a Saturday morning watching videos of the opposition.

What was the worst thing about playing your era?

The worst thing was the fixtures, they were always a mess with no proper schedule.

When did you know it was time to call it quits?

At a serious level I knew after being taken off against Gweedore in the Donegal Championship without having touched the ball after about 25 minutes at full-forward. I was 39, almost 40, so I was happy enough. I’m still playing for our thirds team and the Donegal Masters.

What interesting or funny story may readers not know about you or one of your former teammates?

We were playing Longford in a challenge game one Saturday morning in Grange in Sligo. It was a horrible day with lashing rain. Devenney didn’t fancy it and faked an injury after 10 minutes. Brian McEniff turned around to the dug-out to tell Johnny McCafferty from Termon to warm up. Johnny replies “Jesus Brian, you wouldn’t put a dog out in that weather.” McEniff replied: “Johnny do you want to play for your county or not.” The whole place was in stitches.

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