Ross Ó Mearlaigh will look to call upon the experience from his involvement with the Donegal senior panel as he readies himself for a huge game against St Cuan’s.
Ó Mearlaigh’s father Francie is the Donegal team bus driver, and Ross helps out with statistics on matchdays.
However, the full-back will take centre stage himself this Saturday, and may ask Neil McGee for some words of encouragement.
“I’d be chatting to Neil the odd time and he would give me a few tips. It helps being in and about there and seeing how the boys prepare for games and how they go about it. I’m enjoying being involved there too.”
Ó Mearlaigh is Coláiste Ailigh’s Mr Versatile. He lined out at full-forward as they won the Donegal Senior ‘B’ Schools title earlier this season, but has protected the square in the last few games.
“You could find me anywhere that the ball is going. I wear number three usually, but the odd time I could be in the full-forward line. There’s nowhere in between really, it’s one side of the field to the other.
“I probably prefer full-back – making tackles and getting stuck in.”
Ó Mearlaigh had to be replaced in the Ulster Final against Ballybay after he was on the receiving end of a strike off the ball. They missed his presence when he had to go off, but has thankfully not suffered any ill-effects from it.
“I had an operation in my ear at Hallowen. He gave me a clout in the ear and it sent me down, and I wasn’t coming back after that. I went to A & E that night and nothing showed up, so I’m happy enough.”
John Bosco Gallagher has gathered some information on the lads from Castleblakeney, but Ó Mearlaigh doesn’t want to know too much about their opposition.
“I’d say some of the other boys know about them, but I don’t like looking at other teams until the day. It can make you a bit nervous. I like to just go out on the day and meet them in the final.”