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My GAA Life – Down’s Sean Ward

Name?

Sean Ward

Which teams did you represent?

For club, Burren from underage through to senior, for school, St Colman’s up to Rannafast and for county, Down minors, u-21s and seniors. 

What is your current involvement with the GAA?

Currently enjoying being a supporter of my son’s u-10 team. I took a break after going straight from playing to managing Burren u-21s and subsequently St John’s, Burren and Saval.

What was your greatest moment in the GAA?

Captaining my county at all three levels and winning the Down Senior Championship with Burren in 1996 and 1997.

What was the most surprising moment in your career?

Captaining my county.

Who was the best player you ever played with?

I was lucky to have played with some of the best ever in Down but in terms of special players it has to be Shorty Treanor.

What was the best score you ever saw in a game you were involved in?

Benny Coulter’s goal in the drawn Ulster final back in 2003.

Which manager made the biggest impact on you and why?

Ray Morgan in St Colman’s put serious appetite for training into me.

James McCartan with Burren, he brought a new lease of life to me with the club when I finished with the county in 2006.

What was the best piece of advice you ever received about playing?

Attack the ball and do your own job.

What was the best thing about playing in your era?

I was lucky to get playing on the Down team with a lot of the squad who won the All Ireland in 1994. Not going to go into names but they were all serious players and great leaders. Some of the best we have seen. They were tough men too and training was always intense. From a game perspective, every player was expected to do their own job. There was no cover and I believe it made for better defenders.

What was the worst thing about playing your era?

Can’t say there was much I disliked, there would have been a few training sessions in Kilbroney that would have tested the dedication, particularly when I had to go out the night before!

When did you know it was time to call it quits?

When the ankles gave in. I spent a winter trying to rehab a recurring ankle problem and joined in at club training game in Burren. The ankle went again and I went home and was sitting with my feet in buckets of ice and back to square one. I was 34 and getting slower, so I pulled the plug.

What interesting or funny story may readers not know about you or one of your former teammates?

Let’s just say I played with some real characters but Gregory McCartan could entertain a nation! Enough said.

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