Since making his debut for Galway in 2015 Johnny Heaney has developed into one of his team's main leaders. In the past, he has missed out on underage selection with his county but that never stopped his desire to succeed. His versatility is the key to success. Apart from standing in the nets, he has appeared on every line of the field for his team. His club Killannin produced some of Galway’s greatest warriors at the turn of the century when Galway had their last successful period picking up 2 All-Ireland’s, and he is keen to follow in those footsteps. This week we went ClubSpotting with Johnny Heaney to Killannin.
What are your first memories of your club Killannin?
My first memories of my club would probably be back when I was in 1st or 2nd class in national school and being brought over to the club pitch to support the older classes playing in the Niall Kinnevey Cup. It was a local competition we played against the schools in the two clubs next to us. I can always remember just thinking and hoping I’d get the chance to play in it when I got older.
Who were your sporting idols growing up?
Very hard to pick just one. I had a lot. But if I was to name a few, I would have to say Ja Fallon (Galway) Ciarán McDonald (Mayo) and Johnny Doyle (Kildare). I loved watching Johnny Doyle, I thought he was brilliant. I was also very lucky to have Gary Fahy, Richie Fahy and Kevin Walsh to look up to in my club, who were All-Ireland winners in 1998 and 2001. I can just remember looking up to them and dreaming of playing for Galway as they did.
What has been the proudest moment of your playing career?
My proudest moment would have to be winning the Intermediate Club Championship in 2014 with Killannin. The special thing about winning something with your club is the guys you win it with and how it brings the community together. You’ve known them since you were young and everyone is really good friends. It was a really special day and it’s something I will never forget. I can remember getting a bus to and from the game and when we got back to Killannin we went straight to the community center and it was full of friends and family. I’d say everyone who lived in Killannin was there, the place was covered in blue, it was unbelievable. A memory that will last forever.
Toughest opponent you have faced?
I could definitely name a few, but one that comes to mind as the toughest opponent would have to be Conor McManus (Monaghan). Two years ago I was playing in the full-back line for Galway and our first league game was against Monaghan. Conor’s movement and the way he reads the game is unreal. Definitely one of the best forwards the game has seen.
Best Player you have played with?
Tough question, I’ve been lucky enough to play with some unbelievable players but I would have to say Gary O’Donnell. He captained us to my first Connacht title in 2016, a proper leader on and off the pitch. Couldn’t speak highly enough about him - his dedication to the game is admirable and he always gets the best out of every player.
Any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
No, nothing really comes to mind. I wouldn’t say I’m very superstitious.
What are your hopes and ambitions for the remainder of the season?
I hope to have a successful championship campaign with my club. The first step is to get out of the group stages and hopefully get a good run in the knockout stages. It would be great to win some silverware with the lads again and bring it back to Killannin.
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