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25th Aug 2018

What Tiernan McCann does to make Tyrone training says it all about the man

Serious dedication

Conan Doherty

There are footballers and hurlers all over the country scaling the roads that run the length and breadth of this island and they’re doing it for the love of the game.

Tiernan McCann is just like any of them.

The Tyrone man finds himself on the east coast where so many of the young professionals do nowadays but he’s also maintaining an inter-county career along with that.

So he makes the journey from Dublin to Tyrone and back again as training requires. He gets his eating right for those trips. He does the stretching he has to do after a long car journey to balance it out and he does it all for his county.

Tiernan McCann is one of the sharpest, fittest, most powerful athlete in Gaelic Football and he’s managed to do that whilst living in Dublin and travelling back home for training.

“I’m enjoying it down there. I don’t see that much of it, I’m just there for work,” the deadly wing back told The GAA Hour in a really brilliant interview.

“There’s not enough work for pharmacists in the north, it’s sort of a real overpopulated profession. It’s grand, it suits well, and I’ve gotten used to all the travel and all.”

It’s a completely different way of life though, never mind a different town.

“When I’m working in Dublin, none of the Dubs would have a clue who I am or anything so there’s no real GAA talk all day from 9-7.

“Most of my friends are at home so anything I’m chatting about is non-GAA related. When I come back home to Tyrone, that’s the first thing mentioned and the only thing mentioned.”

McCann’s lucky that he has good GAA people who are understanding enough to let him away at 4 o’clock some days when he needs to get up the road. It doesn’t make the commitment any less gruelling.

“Most of the time I would try to get away on time for training because it’s a two-hour trek to Garvaghey and then another two-hour trek back up the road,” he said.

“Then you have to factor in your foam rolling after the drive and stretching and getting something to eat too. It’s working out at the minute but, long term, I don’t know what I’ll do.”

The Killyclogher clubman has been so impressive in the last few years that he’s completely transformed perceptions of him from when he dived against Monaghan back in 2015.

Two Ulster titles and a host of swashbuckling performances since and McCann is not known for that flashpoint with Darren Hughes anymore. Even if he disagrees.

“I still get a touch now and again,” he said and admitted that it’s difficult to talk about sometimes.

“That’s something that’s just going to live with me and, what do you do? You just have to get over it and don’t do it again. I just concentrated on my football.

“I would work in Monaghan now and again and they’re usually very nice about it. Yes, I would get slagged the odd time – I’m probably going to be remembered for that and that’s something I just have to live with.”

Listen to the whole interview below from 21:30.