Odhrán Mac Niallais opts out of Donegal panel for 2019

By Stephen Barry

Donegal star Odhrán Mac Niallais has opted out of the county's senior football panel for 2019.

Mac Niallais took a break from football after his club, Gaoth Dobhair, lost the All-Ireland Club semi-final to Corofin in February.

That match took place in the wake of the tragic death of four young men from the area in a car crash, including Mac Niallais's close friend Micheál Roarty. He says Roarty's passing has put football into perspective.

"No, I'm not going back. I spoke to Declan [Bonner, Donegal manager] last week and I told him that I'm not going to play this year," he told local media.

"I just have no real interest in football at the minute, to be honest. The last few weeks, even training with the club, I haven't really enjoyed it.

"I just don't have the hunger and the desire there to give the commitment to Donegal. I explained that to Declan last week. He was very good about it.

"He just said, 'that's grand, just take your time. If you ever need us, we're there for you'.

"I was chatting to a few of the boys, Stephen Rochford and Karl Lacey as well. They were very good to me."

Mac Niallais was speaking after scoring six points in Gaoth Dobhair's victory over Sean MacCumhaill's. However, the 26-year-old says his love for the game is fading since Roarty's passing.

"It's still tough. You wake up every morning and it's still hard to believe that it happened.

"It puts life into perspective and football at the end of the day is not the...  growing up, football was everything to me but that’s kind of fading away a bit now.

"I don’t know, it’s funny like, but maybe I just don’t have the enjoyment and the desire to play football.

"Football in the last few years, a lot of people say it, it’s not the way it used to be played. It’s not enjoyable anymore and that’s kind of part of it too.

"All in all really, I’m just not really mad to play football and get out there and commit, and commitment levels with Donegal and county teams are through the roof."

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