Miskella in action during the 2010 All-Ireland football final. Morgan Treacy/INPHO

36-year old John Miskella will play his first county senior football final tomorrow

The 2010 All-Ireland winner lines out for Ballincollig in the Cork SFC final on Sunday after 19 attempts.

“At the end of the day, this is my number one.”

That’s the view of John Miskella who will play in his first senior county final when Ballincollig take on Carbery Rangers in the Cork SFC decider at Páirc Ui Chaoimh tomorrow afternoon.

The 36-year old has been lining out for the club for 19 years and, despite picking up an All-Ireland winners medal with Cork in 2010, believes that winning a club crown would be the pinnacle of his long career.

“I think winning a county senior championship medal with your club, for every player, especially for players part of a club that has not had much success, would always mean more, but maybe that is just me.

“There is no doubt about it in my mind that there is no comparison. Winning the county senior title with Ballincollig would mean absolutely everything to me, and I genuinely cannot stress that enough.

“Winning an All-Ireland with Cork was an amazing feeling but it would not mean half as much to me if we were to go on and win this final.

“It would be an absolutely immense achievement for me personally. I obviously do not mean that to sound selfish in any way because what it would mean to our whole club is hard to put into words.

“In saying that, still, for me, this would be the be-all and end-all if we can manage to win. We know though how serious a side Rosscarbery are.”

The defender is keen to stress that manager Michael O’Brien has placed a lot of emphasis this season on the importance of team success and any personal accolades or praise should be ignored.

“From the start of the year it really has been all about the team for us. From the beginning of the season the management have embedded that into our thought-process for the year.

“Nobody thinks or cares about personal performances and acclaim. All we are concerned about is that everybody produces the goods for the team.

“We have only got to the semi-final twice over the years and in 1999 we had a great chance to beat UCC in the last four but we didn’t take it and they went on to win the county title.

“And for this final hurdle we just need to drive on with that frame of mind now that everybody needs to take responsibility to get us over the line this year. The attitude of everybody involved with the team has been outstanding. And everything seems to be clicking this time.”

He also admits that victory on Sunday would be all the sweeter because of the lack of success Ballincollig have had over the years.

“Look, this is my 19th season at senior level with the club and there are lads on the current team whose fathers I would have played with. It has been a long 19 years and it has been more bad times than good.

“The younger lads on this team now are brilliant, though. We have always competed at underage levels, something we are all very proud of in the club.

“And because some of those lads have come through there is a nice balance to the team. We have been fortunate enough with injuries as well, we have had only one or two.”

Unsurprisingly, everyone involved with Ballincollig is looking forward to the game, including Miskella’s two sons.

“I have two kids (Danny and Joe) playing here at underage levels and they have a fantastic buzz about it, their friends too.”

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