The Dr McKenna Cup did not work out the way I had hoped for and for the second year in-a-row we didn’t make it out of the Group.
After a very promising start and a good win over Down in Ballybofey, we lost the other two games. We lost to St Mary’s College, last Sunday and Fermanagh in Brewster Park on Wednesday night.
There are those that will say that St Mary’s are at a different stage in their season and are gearing up for the Sigerson Cup, their championship.
Fermanagh were almost at full strength and it was pretty obvious on Wednesday night they had a good bit more work done than we had.
By all accounts our lads have had a number of heavy sessions in the last couple of weeks and that may go someway towards explaining why they looked a bit heavy in the legs in the last two games. It was a gamble that Rory took.
Nevertheless they were very disappointing performances and I’m sure they have given Rory Gallagher, Maxi Curran, Jack Cooney and Brendan Kilcoyne much to mull over ahead of the start of the league.
Rory gave eight new players debuts, most of them from the minor teams of the last few years. Of all the new lads, Caolan Ward has been the standout player even if he does take a little too much out of the ball at times.
Of the rest of the new faces Stephen McBrearty has mixed the good with the not so good and Jack O’Brien had a good game at corner-back and he was doing well until he was substitute against St Mary’s. I was also impressed with young Stephen McMenamin.
Apart from Caolan Ward, Jack O’Brien and Stephen McBrearty, the rest of the lads tried are all good players. But they may not be ready just yet to make the step up to senior. They are all very young and it may take an U-21 campaign for some of them and a season on the bench for a few more of them before they will be fighting for a starting berth.
Finally, this week, I met Seamus Sweeney, from Creeslough at the Donegal, Fermanagh U-21 game in Ballyshannon. Seamus is now living in Philadelphia and is a big man and doing a lot of work for the GAA in New York.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.