AS the countdown continues to the start of the National Football League next month, Mayo midfielder Ronan McGarrity has declared that he is “upbeat” about the coming season and admitted that last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Meath was a “massive letdown”.
Speaking exclusively to The Mayo News, McGarrity said that he felt “brilliant” ahead of his sixth season with the Mayo senior squad, and that he intended to use last year’s disappointment as “fuel” for 2010.
“Losing to Meath was a disappointing end to last year after the huge amount of work that went in from everybody, ” he said. “And all the professional people that were brought in to work with us. Everyone came together so well last year and the attitude of the group was really good.
“We’re a work in progress,” added the 27 years-old bookmaker. “I swore last year we were on to something but it just wasn’t to be. Who knows? If we’d drawn against Meath, things might have been very different. We were very close.
“It was just one of those days, one of those games you just want to forget about. It was a massive letdown for everybody. You’re flat, you don’t know where to look, you just can’t get going.
“But now we have another year to go back, get fitter and stronger. A lot of people have written us off already but we have lots of very good young footballers in the squad now. I’m very upbeat about this season.”
On a personal level, the former Mayo captain is also feeling “brilliant” after cutting back on his basketball commitments with Ballina this season and making the most of the GAA’s closed season before Christmas.
McGarrity, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer three years ago, also admitted that his energy levels were “coming back again” after struggling to cope with the demands of club and county football, and Superleague basketball, at times.
“I’m totally focussed on football at the moment, and I’m just enjoying playing basketball,” he explained. “My goals are to get in shape and stay healthy. I feel brilliant. My energy levels are coming again, I struggled with them for a while. And my check-ups are once a year now.
“With Mayo, we’re back in the weights room for a few months, back running. We’re on the pitch for the last ten days too and I’m ready to go. I’ll be using last year’s pain as fuel for this year.”