My GAA Life

My GAA Life – Antrim’s Johnny McIntosh

Which teams did you represent?

Glenariff Oisin & Antrim

What is your current involvement with the GAA?

Antrim Under 20 Hurling Co Manager

What was your greatest moment in the GAA?

Winning the Christy Ring Championship in 2006

What was the most surprising moment in your career?

Probably my first call up to play for Antrim Seniors, it was a little less common at that time for 18/19 year olds to be called onto the senior squad. I remember standing at my first few trainings looking at boys like Gregory and Gary O’Kane, Alister Elliott and Paul McKillen thinking what the hell am I doing here (They probably thought the same !!!)

Who was the best player you ever played with?

For complete and utter raw skill, ability, talent and a gift to play hurling: Liam Watson.

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

I’d love to say it was one of my own but probably Joey Scullion’s (Loughgiel) goal against Kilkenny in Nowlan Park in 2006 , 25 yards out from goal on the right wing and he pulled on the ground for the ball to end up in the top left hand corner. For years we told Joey we never seen it due to the heavy rain!

Which manager made the biggest impact on you and why?

Probably two managers and both Sarsfields Belfast men, Sean McGuinness and Jim McKernan, Sean gave me my debut for Antrim in 1997 and was a fantastic character and great manager, Jim McKernan managed us in 2006 which was probably our most successful season at County level. Two very different managers but both unique and very good at looking after and managing players.

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

Practice more than everyone else and enjoy your hurling days as they’re short (I can vouch for that now)

What was the best thing about playing in your era?

My era of playing was very much the transition between the ‘good old days’ of a few pints the night before a match to help you sleep in the early and mid 90’s followed by a few pints after the game right through to the mid 00’s when the game became much more professional and things like hydration, physical preparation, gym work, etc etc and training intensity became much higher.

It was an exciting era as the All Ireland Championship was still fairly open for Antrim and reaching all Ireland quarter finals was relatively common, the Ulster Championship was still very competitive and the NHL was always a big attraction to play and compete against the biggest teams in the country.

What was the worst thing about playing your era?

The worst thing about this era was probably that players weren’t really looked after nearly as well as they are now, but to be honest I was very lucky and always felt we got everything we needed.

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

When I was called on with about 60 seconds to go in a Championship qualifier to go and by the time I reached the pitch the match was over.

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

I could genuinely tell you 20 stories about Brian McFall (St John’s and Antrim) but I’m not sure that any of them could be published!!!!

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