MICKEY Moran called it a ‘fearlesssness’; Rory Gallagher’s word is ‘steeliness’.
Whichever adjective, Colm McFadden fits the cap. This Sunday, the St Michael’s man will equal Brian Roper’s Donegal appearances record.
Sunday’s game against Kerry in Tralee will see the 31-year-old forward line out in the county jersey for the record-equalling 159th time.
The Creeslough native and St Eunan’s College schoolteacher decided to give it another go in 2015. He was troubled by a stomach injury in the winter and was a late returnee to training, but the 2012 All-Star aims to get back to his best again.
On Monday night, he hit 1-6 as Donegal overcame Galway in a challenge game at Tourlestrane. Donegal boss Gallagher has hailed McFadden’s influence.
“It’s unbelievable that Colm, who many people forget is only 31, has played that many times,” he said.
“He is very rarely injured and there is a steeliness to Colm that you don’t see in too many players. He is a man for all seasons and we were delighted that Colm decided to come back again to give it another rattle this year.
“He’s a popular man around the squad. It’s a testimony to his longevity and hopefully there’s plenty more to come from Colm.”
McFadden made his Donegal debut in 2002, his Championship bow coming in a win over Down the same year, on a day when Rory Kavanagh and Kevin Rafferty lined out in the Championship for the first time.
He played just four games in early 2006 before heading off to complete his studies in Liverpool, but he was back the following year to help Donegal win the National League Division 1 title.
Many felt that McFadden’s inter-county career was over in 2010 after he was derided following Donegal’s qualifier loss to Armagh in Crossmaglen – on the day of his 100th Donegal game – but he returned in some style under new manager Jim McGuinness, his brother-in-law.
He was an All-Star in 2012 and netted a goal in Donegal’s All-Ireland final win over Mayo. He was in the running for Player of the Year having posted 4-32 in the Championship.
In total, he has scored a whopping 500 points for Donegal, a total of 25 goals and 425 points.
Gallagher said: “Colm is such an influence around the place. It’s the way he trains and the decisions he makes. Sometimes we’ll land for training in Convoy and he’s already there, kicking ball. For the younger lads in the panel, that’s priceless.”