With game 4 on the horizon, we spoke to defensive captain Jo Buchanan on his time with the Cowboys, his playing experience and thoughts on the season so far.
You have been with Cowboys now for a number of years, what was it that attracted you to the sport and primarily the Cowboys?
“I was 14 when I started playing, with my interest coming from the NFL and how technical the game is. At that time, the Cowboys were the only team to have football for that age (cadet flag). I went a couple of times, then started a flag team in my home town. When I turned 18, I was ready to start playing kitted football so the Cowboys was the obvious choice with their history and having previously trained with them.”
You always played LB but have dabbled with running the rock at RB as well, what made you slot in at LB or where you put there by coaches?
“I tried a number of positions including WR (back in the day) and landed at LB. I guess my experience playing rugby helped me fit most into that position and that’s where the coaches put me most so just kept training and learning more and more about the LB position. But I’m keen to continue building my understanding of every position so slot into different positional groups at training any chance I get!”
You came through the youth setup at Cowboys and now have a big input into that part of local football, how big of an impact can it make to the Cowboys and sport league wide?
“You look at other sports and it’s how they have survived, as well as how they have evolved. I only got one year playing at youth because the first youth games took place in 2014 but it was hugely beneficial playing against guys the same age and around the same level of experience as me. That’s why we place such an emphasis on the youth team, and so far we have had 15 youths move up to play for the seniors in 3 years, which is huge in terms of young lads already having game experience. With a more structured approach this year, hopefully more clubs in the league will start a youth team and it can really take off. It’s good that the IAFA are taking it seriously too, it will be hugely beneficial in the years to come, especially the national teams.”
You have been calling the plays on defense now for a number of years, is it hard to balance focusing on your own role as well as making sure everyone else is doing their job?
“To be honest, yes. But it gets easier the more you do it. You have to trust the guys around you that they know what they are doing or else you can’t focus on your own job. We make it clear that if you are unsure about a play call, you ask straight away and don’t just make up your responsibility. We have a good bit of experience in our defense now so my more senior team mates are able to help with this too – which takes more pressure off me.”
For the first time you have a Defensive Co-Ordinator as well as defensive coaches to help you from the side-line, how much of a help is that?
“It’s been a huge help, Mark Beattie has been great at Defensive Co-Ordinator as he’s very hard working: reviewing tape, drawing up schemes, planning training sessions etc. Jakub and Ivan have helped him greatly too, with all 3 coming on board really paying dividends for our rookies as they learn from vastly experienced coaches. This is just a small glimpse of how the club has come on in recent years, and hopefully it continues to build.”
Quite a number of rookies this year, how have they settled in and who have been the stand outs for you so far?
“Its still early in the season but they have been coming on well. The key is to keep training and working hard - the more reps you do, it becomes more natural doing it in a game. All of them have been really impressive so its hard to pick a stand out. I will just give some advice - never think you know it all about American football. The game is constantly developing so always show up to training ready to learn.”
Two good wins to open the season was followed by a disappointing loss to the Eagles, is it important to bounce back straight away and get back to playing our football?
“Its been a tricky enough start, but its still very early in the season. With a high number of new players as well as returning players, it was only natural that it would take time to gel and get momentum going. The loss to the Eagles highlighted areas of our game that we need to improve, which we will be working on at training this week to get right against the Minotaurs. As long as we continue to work hard on and off the field, the results will come. Sunday’s game is important as we return home to Peoples Park, and will be looking to mark the occasion with a win against a Westmeath Minotaurs team coming off the back of a win against the Meath Bulldogs. No easy task but we will certainly give it our all.”
Search By Date