Donegal recorded their first victory of the season with a respectable win against Armagh at a cold and wet Athletic Grounds last Sunday. For a McKenna Cup fixture, this was a feisty affair. The Armagh officials on duty within the park didn’t exactly welcome Donegal with open arms.
One particular official who was sporting a bright yellow luminous jacket tried to enforce his authority on our substitution area told me that I was to sit down. He didn’t say “sit down please”. He roared “down” as though he was barking at a dog.
The burly Armagh manager Paul Grimley was in fighting form too. He seemed very agitated with his constant barracking of the referee. The partisan Armagh crowd were baying for blood.
So the tone for the game was set. Armagh had a five point lead at one stage but, were unable to maintain their dominance for the full seventy minutes. They were greatly aided by a strong breeze in the first half. Donegal clawed their way back into the game and eventually ran out winners when all the bad manners and bravado from Armagh had faded.
I couldn’t see that man with the luminous yellow jacket (not that I was looking for him) when the final whistle sounded. The grumpy old man had probably gone home to put his slippers on and complain to his wife about the bad weather. He certainly wouldn’t have been complaining about the football because he knew nothing about football. Still, it was a big day out for him. An official from the Armagh county board did apologise to me after the game for that man’s behaviour which I greatly appreciated.
Donegal’s victory and performance will boost morale within the squad. This win was not easily achieved. Our lads had to fight hard right to the end because Armagh was certainly up for this game and were dogged in their tackling. They would have perceived this game as a major test of their resolve and a victory over the 2012 All-Ireland champions would have been a major scalp. There were many positives for Donegal.
Karl Lacey got a full game under his belt. Neil McGee and Neil Gallagher returned to the action and our overall fitness has improved significantly. Bear in mind we had many absentees because of exams and injuries. It is all coming nicely together for the start of the National League. To qualify for the semi finals of the McKenna Cup would give Donegal an extra or two extra competitive games. At the time of writing this outcome is unknown but, as you read this today (Thursday) it will be since there was a round of fixtures last night (Wednesday). If I was a prophet I could tell you now but, unfortunately I’m not!
Who would ever have prophesised that plans are afoot to take the catholic chapel out of Letterkenny general hospital? Perhaps it is only rumour. I listened to the Shaun Doherty show on Highland Radio last Monday and there was a fierce debate raging regarding the rumour. I would like to preface what follows by stating that I respect all religions and do not discriminate against the beliefs of other people.
Since the time of St. Patrick, our little island has been a catholic country. I appreciate that we have come along way since St. Patrick and that Ireland has welcomed many other peoples from other countries of different faiths to our land. I believe that a lot of our non nationals respect that Ireland is a catholic country and are prepared to respect our faith. Fortunately, I have travelled extensively and I never had a problem in either Tunisia or Dubai with respecting or adhering to their traditions/customs in respect of their faith. I understand that a multi denominational facility is being muted for Letterkenny general hospital. I believe that this should be provided for non Christians. The core issue is not about accommodating other faith in the hospital, rather it is the removal of the catholic chapel.
My mother passed away in Letterkenny hospital. The chapel was a great source of comfort for her and my family as she clung on to life. There has been a major shift in attitude in this country towards the catholic faith and to the Catholic Church in recent years. The powers that be don’t want God in our schools and our national media is constantly berating the church. The Catholic Church is still one of the best contributors to charities and disasters all over the world.
It provides refuge for the sick our priests are compassionate towards those in need. It is my belief that there would be less crime, drug and alcohol abuse if God was a part of people’s lives.
Our youth is being driven to idolise immoral superstars through television and social internet media. I would like to appeal directly to the NHE to keep the little chapel in Letterkenny general hospital. If there is a time when we need God in our lives, then it is now. So to the NHE, be courageous and stand up for our little country.