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Donegal ace Oisín Gallen proving to be a cut above

It is rather apt that Oisín 'Farrah' Gallen, from a family of legendary Ballybofey barbers, has looked a cut above for Donegal since establishing himself in the team over the last 12 months.

In many ways, 2023 was the year that things really began to fall into place for the forward in a Donegal jersey.

First drafted into the set-up in 2019 during the McKenna Cup, a string of injury setbacks have curtailed the progress of the Seán MacCumhaills man; while he tasted championship action that summer against Tyrone, it would be a four-year wait for his first start.

Those intervening years saw four quad tears, a hamstring tear, a dislocated shoulder and an elbow injury which has required two operations.

By his own admission – on foot of yet another setback in 2022 – he seriously contemplated a path that didn’t include inter-county football. Was the juice worth the squeeze?

"I thought at that point I was done, I wasn’t for coming back this time," he later said.

Throw the long commute from DCU while completing his four-year BA in Primary School teaching – Gallen lived with Mayo defender Enda Hession for a period of time – and there were fears that the rangy forward who many had heralded as the heir to the Michael Murphy throne in the full-forward line, may never realise his undoubted potential.

But 2023 changed all of that. Having completed his studies, Gallen found employment as a teacher in Bridgend, at the base of the Inishowen peninsula, to bring to an end arduous trips back and forth from the capital.

A stretch of games saw Gallen run amok in the county championship. Seán MacCumhaills exited at the semi-final stage, but their talisman plundered 1-59 over seven matches to finish as top-scorer, 22 points clear of a trio of players who