Kieran McGeary’s feet have barely touched the ground in the past two seasons.
After captaining Tyrone to an All-Ireland U21 title in 2015, he helped Pomeroy win county and Ulster IFC titles last year.
Sigerson Cup success followed with St Mary’s, Belfast and, amid all that glorious mayhem, he broke into the Red Hand senior side and kicked a spectacular late point against Donegal to clinch a first Ulster SFC crown in six years.
This weekend, the 22-year-old plays in his second successive provincial final as the champions target Down in an attempt to retain the Anglo-Celt Cup.
“That is what keeps you going, that winning mentality. If you get a slight glimpse of it, you always want it, you want it more and more and more, and, thankfully I have been on the right side,” he said.
“I have been playing with a lot of great players, which has helped too, in that St Mary’s team, last year’s U21s, and last year’s senior panel. “It’s full of great players, who all want the same thing, so that helps drive you all over the line.”
McGeary is among a handful of U21 All-Ireland winners to rise to the senior ranks, with Padraig Hampsey, Conor Meyler, Mark Bradley, Cathal McShane and Lee Brennan also making their mark in Mickey Harte’s squad.
“There’s a lot of the U21 and minor lads who have all broken through around the same year, which is fantastic, because you know those players probably a bit more than other players. You know how they play, you know their strengths, so there’s a good connection between us young players, and there’s a great competitiveness between us, because we all want to break on to that senior team.”
Last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Mayo left its scars on Tyrone’s players, but McGeary was able to find solace in a heart-warming distraction, as Pomeroy’s centenary year brought unprecedented success in the form of Tyrone and Ulster titles.
“That run we had with the club this year was fantastic. Coming from that defeat to Mayo to win the county title with your club and win Ulster, and to have those days out and to have that enjoyment was a massive thing to keep you going, to keep you motivated.”
Two other Pomeroy players — Frank Burns and McGeary’s older brother Hugh Pat — are also in the Tyrone squad, and hoping to see game time against the Mourne men in Sunday’s Ulster final.
“It’s fantastic to represent Pomeroy on a county level. The three of us work hard for it, and it’s nice to hear the people, they treat you like an everyday person. If you win, it’s well done, and if you lose, it’s hard luck. They’re never on your back, because they have seen you go through it time and time again.”
Tyrone’s semi-final demolition of Donegal was the championship performance of the season to date, as they swept to a 1-21 to 1-12 win over their north-west rivals on an afternoon when just about everything went right for them.
“A lot of it clicked, definitely. We all clicked as a team that day. Not every time you go out on to the field that’s going to happen.
“You’re going to have your misses and, thankfully, a lot that we kicked the last day went over the bar.
“Perhaps not as many went into the net as we would have liked, but we could have raked up an even bigger score.
“Again, we got a rub of the green, perhaps Donegal didn’t. We had our homework done, I know they had their homework done too.”
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