OISIN Gallen is hoping he is over the worst of his injury problems as he has enjoyed a consistent and impressive summer playing in both the Donegal and Sean MacCumhaill’s jersey.
Gallen has endured a tough time since making his Donegal debut in 2019 in the McKenna Cup.
He was introduced off the bench many times over the years but injuries hampered his playing time for the county until May of this year when he finally got his first Championship start against Clare, kicking four points that day to help Donegal win.
“I was delighted this year to have a few months with no interruptions. 2019 was my first year in (the county panel) and I only started my first championship game this year in my fifth season so I’ve had to be patient.
“I’ve come over a few injuries but hopefully I’m on the far side of that now. It was a recurring quad injury three times in 2022 and before the season this year I had to get surgery, I tore the tendon off the bone at my elbow so that put me out at the start of 2023 then I tore the hamstring against Mayo.
“The head goes down when you get injured but I always knew what I wanted to do which was play for Donegal and I wasn’t going to let a few injuries get in the way of that.
“I ended up having a few more than I liked but at the end of the day I had to get down and work at it, I knew it was not going to be easy trying to recover and trusting the process.
“Luckily since my injury against Mayo I’ve had no problems so maybe I’m just looking after my body better or getting older and wiser in what I’m putting my body through but whatever I’m doing at the minute is working.”
The MacCumhaill’s man garnered plenty of attention nationally in the All-Ireland Championship, especially after his performance against Derry the second round of the group stages.
The man known as Farrah hit 0-9 that day against 2022 All-Star recipient Chrissy McKaigue in MacCumhaill Park but Donegal lost 1-15 to 3-14 that day.
He was given closer attention in the following games but still hit 0-5 in the win over Monaghan and 0-4 in the disappointing loss to Tyrone that ended Donegal’s campaign.
But the 0-18 over three games earned him the Donegal News Sports Personality of the Month for June, in conjunction with Brian McCormick Sports & Leisure.
“Looking back I maybe had some good performances but overall at the time it was very disappointing with the way it worked out and how it finished against Tyrone.
“We did pick it up a bit from the terrible start we had, got a bit more positive and we have to take positives from that going into next year and improve on what we did last year.
“When you’ve come away from it, it was a very good performance I suppose (vs Derry) and it was nice on my home pitch to do something like that, it was nice in one way but at the end of the day we still lost and that’s what matters.
“But yeah it was a good battle with Chrissy and I’m sure if I’m up against him again I won’t get it as easy.
“The Monaghan game, you’ll take getting less ball if you’re going to win and you’d take that in most games and that’s the beauty of the team sport. It’s not about me, if I can chip in and help out then great but we picked up the two points over Monaghan and I’d take that over the Derry game.”
At club level, Gallen has continued his fine form and is second top scorer in the championship on 30 points, a goal behind Patrick McBrearty.
MacCumhaill’s have also reached the preliminary quarter-finals after picking up five points to finish seventh in the table.
“We probably are happy with how we’re looking coming into the prelims. We started off bad down in Gaoth Dobhair in Magheragallon which wasn’t ideal but we picked ourselves up again and got two wins on the bounce against Killybegs and Glenfin which seen us move up the table well.
“Then on Saturday against Kilcar we knew we had a free hit, we knew we were out of the relegation zone and we couldn’t make the top four and we wanted to see how we could put it up against one of the teams that have had success in Donegal over the last few years.
“We were disappointed we didn’t win the game, we were leading for the whole game bar the last two minutes when they got ahead but we scraped a draw and we’re looking to build on that.
“It’s knock-out time now which everyone is looking forward to, we beat Four Masters in MacCumhaill Park last year but they have a few good young teams coming through so we’ll try do our homework and prepare well for it.
“If we keep winning games we’ll be happy with that and stay fit and healthy coming into 2024 hopefully.”