The red and white flags and bunting are back up in Killybegs and the club are making their supporters proud once more.
They have lost all their 14 league games but former star, Barry McGowan, says that pride has been restored by a bunch of players who have bucked the trend that winning can be a habit!
Not many, even in Killybegs, would have predicted that they would be county finalists, but Barry McGowan points to a statistic which caught his attention after 10/11 league games. “I know there are lies, damned lies and statistics, but the only team that had conceded less at that stage was St. Eunan’s. It shows that the team were as good as anybody defensively.
“It was the offensive side that wasn’t working. Up to the arrival of Hugh McFadden in recent weeks, they were relying on Benny Boyle for most of their scores,” said Barry.
It is an interesting insight into the Killybegs season. Hugh McFadden run at full-forward in recent weeks has given the Fishermen a cutting edge that they lacked up front for much of the season.
“When you look at Glenswilly, they would be good defensively but then apart from Michael Murphy, you have the McFaddens and Ciaran Bonner and Colin Kelly has been chipping in now with scores and you can always rely on Neil Gallagher to come forward to get on the scoresheet,” said Barry.
But the main topic of conversation around the fishing town has been, how a team that hasn’t won a league game get to the county final.
“Even getting to the final is a huge achievement for this side. Manager Martin Boyle has had his critics, but you have to hand it to him, Shay (Murrin) and the boys, they have saved their best for the championship. Martin has even said that himself.
“It will be difficult for them, though, against Glenswilly, who can build up a lead and then go negative or defensive and close out a game. I’ve seen them do that this year. They did that against Kilcar and we would be similar to Kilcar in physicality at least.”
With the red and white flags going up, Barry said one of the quips at work this week was: “It was like the 90s all over again, Liverpool top of the league and Killybegs back in the county final.
“There is a steely reserve in this team. They have written their own history and they also want to make up for their most recent final a few years ago when they didn’t perform against Glenties.
“I hope they can do themselves justice. We are all very proud of them. They deserve a lot of credit. They are brightening up our summer.
“They have been underdogs all year and will go into the final as big underdogs. Nobody likes having the favourites’ tag but Glenswilly will be raging hot favourites,” said the former Killybegs star.
“Being in the final is an unexpected bonus. We’ll enjoy the next couple of weeks,” said Barry.