Liam McHale: Hoops helping Kieran Donaghy’s revival

Roscommon selector Liam McHale believes basketball has been an important factor in Kieran Donaghy’s return to form.

McHale was a noted basketball player with Ballina and believes both sports complement each other. Donaghy was MVP for St Brendan’s, Tralee in their men’s national intermediate club championship final win over BC Leixlip Nemunas in January.

And McHale reflected: “Kieran is back playing well and looks sharp. It’s no coincidence he’s had a season or two of basketball under his belt, he’s sharp and light on his feet, a handful.

“I think he went off the boil in the last two or three years, lost that agility and sharpness basketball brings to you. He played intermediate basketball last season and it looks like his hands are sharp and he’s light on his feet.

“He looks like he’s 27 again.”

Sunday’s Allianz League semi-final between the counties is a repeat of the round 2 fixture in Killarney, when Roscommon scored a shock one-point win, though Donaghy was influential that afternoon too. And McHale anticipates a much stronger Kingdom challenge at GAA HQ.

“I wish he wasn’t playing as well as he is because we got hammered in midfield down in Kerry. It’s a big ask for us to try and compete with Kieran and David Moran, if the two of them start there, and they have Johnny Buckley and guys like that chipping in.

“They’ll be a different outfit and the ‘Gooch’ is back playing well. His decision-making and intelligence around the pitch are top class. He makes players better around him. Only a handful of players can do that.”


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