20 questions with St Michael's Eric Hegarty: Winning a county final was 'pure joy'

It’s a well-trodden path at this stage about all our losses, sleepless nights and looking back on ‘what if?’
20 questions with St Michael's Eric Hegarty: Winning a county final was 'pure joy'

Eric Hegarty, St Michael's, celebrates. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

ST MICHAEL’S persevered to finally have their day in the sun in the recent Bon Secours county SAFC success against Knocknagree.

Star forward Eric Hegarty took home the Man-of-the-Match award, again providing leadership and direction on a memorable afternoon.

“The thing that stands out was the pure joy at the final whistle,” he said.

“It’s a well-trodden path at this stage about all our losses, plenty of sleepless nights and looking back on ‘what if?’, that kind of stuff.

“It was a combination of relief and joy and not just for the players on the pitch but for everyone who’s been involved over the years. They’ve suffered heartbreak, too, so to finally get over the line was just sheer joy.”

Those scenes contrasted with more muted celebrations from other champions as Hegarty explained.

“I’ve been to a good number of county finals and some of the winners looked like they had only won a league title.

“They weren’t making that big a deal of it because they’ve been so used to winning county finals coming up through the ranks.

“For us, though, it was different because you could see the emotion afterwards and how much it meant to people.”

St Michael's Eric Hegarty takes on Mallow's Bill Myers at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
St Michael's Eric Hegarty takes on Mallow's Bill Myers at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

As for the game itself, Adam Hennessy’s brace of goals were central planks in the victory. “They were huge, particularly the second goal. I think we were able to say then ‘this is going to be our day.’ I thought we managed the game well after that.

“Adam has been getting goals for us all year, including two again in the first game against Knocknagree. He’s deadly in front of goal.

His first goal was critical too because everything that could go wrong went wrong for us in the first half.

“We were very wayward with our shooting and starting to think ‘here we go again’ until Adam’s goal gave us a bit of confidence and a foothold in the game. The rest is history, but the goals were key.”

20 QUESTIONS WITH ERIC HEGARTY

1. What age are you?

34.

2. When did you start playing?

I was probably six or seven, hurling with the Rockies and then football with Michael’s under Connie O’Leary and Alan Delaney.

3. What is your favourite position to play in?

Anywhere in the forwards, either centre or full-forward.

4 What other sports did you play growing up?

Hurling and soccer. 

Ringmahon Rangers captain Paul Deasy, right, celebrates with man-of-the-match Eric Hegarty, after they defeated Cobh Wanderers in the MSL 2017 Beamish Stout Senior Cup final at Turner's Cross. Picture: David Keane.
Ringmahon Rangers captain Paul Deasy, right, celebrates with man-of-the-match Eric Hegarty, after they defeated Cobh Wanderers in the MSL 2017 Beamish Stout Senior Cup final at Turner's Cross. Picture: David Keane.

Soccer was probably my number one growing up until I had a bit of success with Michaels’s and that took over.

5. Who were the major influences on your sporting career?

Alan and Connie at underage level. 

Douglas' Eoin Cadogan is challenged by Blackrock's Eric Hegarty in the City Division U21 hurling final replay. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Douglas' Eoin Cadogan is challenged by Blackrock's Eric Hegarty in the City Division U21 hurling final replay. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Micheal Mulconroy as a player and mentor and Aidan Ryan.

6. Who are your sporting heroes then and now?

Padraig Joyce from Galway was a player I idolised as a young fellow and Damien O’Callaghan, Doc, who captained Michael’s to a county in 1998.

7. What was the most memorable game you played in and why?

It would have to be the recent county final and the joy it brought to the club.

8. What was the most memorable game you attended?

The 2010 All-Ireland final.

9. What was your biggest sporting disappointment?

Losing to Carrigaline in the 2015 PIFC county final.

10. Who was your toughest opponent?

Eoin Cotter from Douglas when I was a first-year Cork minor.

11. What is your favourite venue?

Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

12. What are the most important traits in your sport?

Fitness nowadays. 

Eric Hegarty, St Michael's, fighting for this ball with Ballincollig Denis Maloney and Noel Galvin, when they won the 2006 Premier 1 Minor FC. Picture: Dan Linehan
Eric Hegarty, St Michael's, fighting for this ball with Ballincollig Denis Maloney and Noel Galvin, when they won the 2006 Premier 1 Minor FC. Picture: Dan Linehan

Enjoyment is also very important as well as learning the basic skills.

13. What advice would you give young players starting out?

Enjoying it is the most important thing.

14. If you could go to any sporting even what would it be?

Super Bowl.

15. What movies and TV shows are you streaming?

The Crown.

16. What is on your Spotify playlist?

Arctic Monkeys new album is on repeat.

17. What is your favourite book?

The Hunger Games.

18. Who do you enjoy following on social media?

There’s a good James Milner parody account @boringmilner.

19. What is your cheat meal when you’re not training?

KFC

20. What are your sporting goals from here?

To keep playing for as long as I can and enjoy every year I get out of it.

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