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Niall Daly proudly representing Padraig Pearses and Roscommon despite living in Galway
Last Updated: 22/11/19 7:20pm
There was never any fear of Niall Daly having divided loyalties - he is a Rossie through and through.
Along with his three brothers Lorcan, Ronan and Conor, Niall represents Roscommon, and they're gunning to take down All-Ireland champions Corofin with their club Padraig Pearses in Sunday's Connacht final.
But a little known fact about the Daly footballing clan - they hail from Galway, just across the Roscommon border.
"I don't normally say it on the record but where we live - we live down a road and we're on the border and the road is split by Galway and Roscommon," Niall explained. "We actually live in county Galway so growing up we would have got a lot of grief off the Ballinasloe GAA club for not playing with them! But how and ever that's the way it is.
"Pearses were the nearer club and they had a good underage structure at the time. Once we went down there, numbers were big. Growing up, we were a Division 1 team and we were always competitive, U12 all the way up. Dad would have got himself involved too so it was a no-brainer to be playing there."
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It's been a rough ride for Pearses in recent years, but they finally got over the line for a county title after years of heartache.
It's said that you sometimes have to lose one to win one. But in the case of Pearses, the fine print detailed that they needed to lose seven.
After coming off the pitch after their last county final defeat to St Brigid's in 2016, Daly was left wondering if it was ever going to happen.
"In Roscommon terms, we've been seen as the 'Mayo' of Roscommon club football which is not a good thing really," he said.
"They all sit in the memory and are not great days to look back on.
"So just to get over the line on the day in the final was huge. Even the end of the game, I think we were nine points up at one stage and we let them come back into it and just held on really. It was a huge weight off the shoulders."
We've been seen as the 'Mayo' of Roscommon club football
Padraig Pearses had lost three finals this decade
Off the back of their Roscommon SFC triumph, they embarked on a Connacht odyssey, overcoming Sligo's Tourlestrane and London's Tír Chonaill Gaels.
He continued: "Beating Tourlestrane, just about getting over them. I know the scoreline probably doesn't say that, but we probably got one or two fortuitous goals.
"The London trip really brought the club together. There was a huge crowd over there. In a funny way, there were people over there that wouldn't be at a match in a club-pitch!
"The last few days the hype of this [Corofin] game has really been building."
There aren't many tasks in club football as tough as facing Corofin in Tuam.
"We know we're going into the lion's den on Sunday. We're playing a team that a lot of people around the country admire for their brand of football," he cautioned.
"Sunday's game - winter football, Tuam being a heavy enough pitch, it probably brings us a small bit closer, possibly. You're looking at them, they were lucky to draw with Tuam the first day.
"If we can produce a performance and they are a small bit off their level, we have some sort of a chance. It's all about us producing a performance, our work rate, playing a man in the right position. Small little things might get us closer to them and we'll be trying to focus on that.
"We are looking forward to it. We know it's a huge challenge. We are in bonus territory but we want to do ourselves justice on the day."
And they're under no illusion as to the scale of the task at hand.
"Absolutely," he said, when asked if it's the biggest game in the club's history. "Every game for the last few weeks has been. It's unknown territory. A huge game.
"The club is taking off. Everything is being supported and we have loads of sponsors getting involved.
"It's a good time to be Pearses club member at the moment.
"Everyone would like to see them (Corofin) beaten," he laughed. "Hopefully we'll be the team to do it."