BY CHRIS MCNULTY
MARTIN O’Reilly has taken the chance handed to him by Rory Gallagher – and the MacCumhaills man doesn’t want to let go.
O’Reilly was Man of the Match as Donegal recorded a narrow 0-12 to 1-8 win over Cork in Ballyshannon and his four points were crucial. Three times in the first half, O’Reilly was on the mark and he followed it up with another in the second half.
“You look at the bench on a day like today and see the likes of Colm McFadden there and you realise how lucky you are to get the shout,”he said.
“He’s flying in training. I’m fortunate, but I’m just trying to do the best I can in training and in games.
“It was great to get a few scores. Michael (Murphy) and Frank (McGlynn) did great work for the first couple of scores I got.
“I’ll keep training hard. Rory (Gallagher), Jack (Cooney) and Gary (McDaid) are great for the advice. They’re constantly trying to get you to go the extra mile.
“They give us a lot of confidence.”
O’Reilly looked set to tuck away a Donegal goal in the 46th minute when he scampered through, but he had to settle for a point.
He said: “I should have got a goal there too. It was a bad miss, but at least it went over the bar.”
The Dublin-based teacher was drafted onto the panel for the 2012 season, making his debut against Cavan in the McKenna Cup and his League debut arrived against Down the same year.
He’s had injury trouble in the last couple of years, but now he’s finally looking to cement a place in the first XV.
After suffering a defeat to Dublin last time around, O’Reilly was delighted to help return Donegal to winning ways, even if they had to overcome the sending off of Murphy along the way.
He said: “The victory was all we needed. Michael was flying before he went off, but we all worked hard together after that. It was an uphill challenge, but we all plugged together. Cork rallied, but thank God we got over the line.
“It’s two points, which is all we wanted from the game and now we’ll start to look at Monaghan.
“Everyone is moving up the levels and working harder. It worked out in the end.
“If we can put in the performances, the results will look after themselves. We’re striving to be the best that we can be.”
DECLAN BONNER will look to collect the first piece of silverware from his second tenure in charge of Donegal.