Seeing a player put in a storming performance at some stage in his first Championship season isn’t all that rare and we’ve been fortunate to witness a fair few examples of this over the past decade. But I’m struggling to think of another example where a player making his full Championship debut put in a Man of the Match performance at the first time of asking.
Darren McHale did just that in yesterday’s game against Sligo. The Knockmore player came off the bench against Leitrim in the Connacht quarter-final last November but was yesterday lining out from the start in the Championship for the first time. He was in the thick of the action right from the throw-in, confidently firing over our first two points from the two opportunities that came his way.
Darren eventually ended up with a personal tally of 1-5 yesterday, all of it from play. It was, in every sense, an eye-catching debut and while on Sky Sports Aidan O’Shea was selected, by co-commentator Billy Joe Padden, as their MOTM, Darren wins the poll here with 30% of the vote.
Aidan came a close second with 26% support, with Eoghan McLaughlin (11%), Paddy Durcan (9%) and Ryan O’Donoghue (5%) also polling strongly. Well done to them all.