Ryan Mayse believes it was inevitable that Tyrone All-Ireland hero Niall Morgan would bring a winning mentality and commanding presence to the Dungannon Swifts changing room.
Morgan, who lifted the Sam Maguire Cup at Croke Park last month, made a surprise appearance for the Irish League club on Friday night.
And the 30-year-old goalkeeper, who has starred for the Stangmore Park outfit in the past, made an instant impact, keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Carrick Rangers.
Morgan, who is set to resume pre-season training with Tyrone in December, was deputising for regular Swifts keeper Alex Moore who is sidelined with an injury.
“Niall has been brilliant around the club,” said Swifts striker Mayse. “He came in against Carrick on Friday night and the commanding presence he brought to the pitch was unbelievable.
“He’s also really good in the changing room. The way he speaks to the younger players is brilliant because he has been there, done it on the biggest stage with Tyrone.
“Even in a short space of time I’ve seen him giving the younger lads little talks, putting an arm around shoulders and that means a lot because they look up to him.”
The contrast between performing on an All-Ireland final stage and playing in front of 388 spectators in a low-profile Irish League fixture between Dungannon and Carrick couldn’t be starker.
But Mayse says Morgan’s attitude, just days after receiving a call from Swifts boss Dean Shiels, shone through as Dungannon kept their first clean sheet of the league campaign.
“Niall has played in front of massive crowds at Croke Park and there were only a few hundred at the Carrick game, but he approached the game in the same manner,” he said.
“He brings a fantastic attitude and he’s just a great man to have about the place. Everyone knows what he has achieved with Tyrone and winning the All-Ireland last month was massive.
“He has the utmost respect of everyone in the changing room.
“It’s just fantastic to have a man of Niall’s presence and calibre at Dungannon and it’ll definitely help the younger players in the squad, particularly at the back.”
Mayse, who bagged a brace in Friday’s 2-0 win over Carrick, believes Morgan might have carved out a cross-channel career if his first love hadn’t been Gaelic football.
The Tyrone goalkeeper was once part of the Northern Ireland U21 squad before former Red Hands coach Mickey Harte persuaded him to throw his lot in with his county.
“If Niall wasn’t playing Gaelic, I’d say he could be playing in England or Scotland,” said Mayse. “He’s a really good goalkeeper, he’s commanding and he organises his defence so well.
“If he was playing regularly in the Irish League now, I suspect he would be the best keeper here, but he could have gone further. Definitely.
“The other goalkeepers, the likes of Alex who picked up an injury, can also only learn from working alongside someone like Niall.
“With Tyrone starting back up in December, we’ll only have him for a short time, but it’s a massive boost to have him here for the next few weeks.”Internet Explorer Channel Network