Much of the early season Offaly senior football landscape was dominated by the name Cian Johnson. Having played for the senior county set-up under Stephen Wallace during the Allianz League, an Offaly GAA rule barred him from carrying on with them in the senior championship.
He was gutted, understandably so, a hard-working young footballer with the world at his feet, dreaming of emulating the likes of Niall McNamee by crossing the white line in O'Connor Park for his championship bow. Nevertheless, he went back to the U20s, got his head down, and continued to work hard, all while studying and sitting his Leaving Certificate.
With that controversy and the exams behind him, the Ferbane teenager has joined up with the exciting Ferbane senior team for the Offaly Senior Football Championship, and hasn't he settled in well!
Playing in BNM O'Connor Park at the weekend, Johnson and his teammates tackled champions Rhode in Round 4. Rhode are the undoubted kingpins of Offaly football, a team that hasn't lost a round robin game in the Offaly Senior Championship since 2001.
Ferbane on the other hand are a young team with a new generation coming to the frontline, playing the right style of football, and playing, most importantly, without fear. Rhode's history went before them at the weekend, but nobody told the Ferbane lads, and they ran them to the pin of their collar in a brilliant draw.
Midway through the first half, Cian Johnson picked up possession near the sideline, fully 45 metres from goal. With unwavering confidence far beyond his years, he fired a shot goalward from the outside of his left boot. It's a left boot sure to garner plenty more attention in the coming years and inevitably, the ball landed over the bar.
Johnson nonchalantly jogged back to his position at corner-forward, his moment of genius failing to generate so much as a fist-pump from the young man. This is not his first rodeo - scoring, no matter where it's from, is routine for this kid, and even opposing supporters in the O'Connor Park stand took their hats off to him.
Take a bow, Cian Johnson!
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