09 Aug 2022

McCloskey: I'm just the boy that has to go up and lift the cup

The Banagher captain has praised the work ethic of his team mates.

McCloskey: I'm just the boy that has to go up and lift the cup

Darragh McCloskey keeping tabs on Tom Keenan. Pic by Philip Walsh.

A Derry side had never won the Ulster intermediate hurling championship before Saturday.

Banagher have fond memories of Gergory Biggs becoming the first club man to lift the Derry senior title in 2005, and now they have another name for the individual roll of honour – Darragh McCloskey.

The centre back, though, shied away from the personal accolade.

“I'm absolutely delighted. I'm as proud as anything. As I said to the boys beforehand, being captain is not an individual thing for me; we're a team,” he said.

“I'm the boy who has to go up and lift the cup, but we've serious pride amongst the team and the community at the minute.”

At the heart of a highly-rated defensive unit, McCloskey knows he can rely on the men around him to perform and is proud of their collective effort.

“When you see the scores going against us, we're keeping teams to ten or eleven points at this stage. Our full back line has been unbelievable; the man-marking, keeping goals out,” he said.

“The two boys either side of me – Mark for the experience he has and Niall for the legs, they're maybe making me look alright.

“People say defence is our strong point but the pressure the forward line puts on stops that ball coming in. We're serious defensively all round.”

McCloskey nods to the crowd, still celebrating on the sodden Healy Park surface, clarried in mud but too high on success to care.

“Everybody in the parish is involved in the club nearly in some way, and for the weans coming through, everyone is related to everyone in some way,” he said.

“It's great for them and for the parents and for everyone that has been involved and supported us, that's who it's all for really.”

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