It is great to be once again heading back to Croke Park for Donegal. Thanks to the exploits of Jim McGuinness and his men, it has become a home from home for us.
At stake this time is the Division 2 National Football League title. It wouldn’t exactly rate as a major achievement yet it is a welcome and useful exercise in preparation for the forthcoming championship. It will also give Donegal a chance to see our first round championship opponents Derry in the flesh who contest the Division 1 title against Dublin.
Donegal’s opposition Monaghan will have their sights on putting a marker down in case the two teams meet in the summer. The last final that these two teams contested was the Ulster final in Clones last season. As we know Donegal lost that day.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Donegal has recovered from that defeat and are moving forward diligently yet quietly. Obviously, the championship remains the focus.
The recent intense training camp in Portugal was not designed for this weekend rather for what starts on the 25th May in Celtic Park and afterwards.
We know what Monaghan bring to the table. They will come out thumping their chests and full of enthusiasm. As I’ve said here before their tackling borders on the edge. They don’t mind letting you know that they play with ferocity. It should be a keenly contested affair.
The other game sees the best Ulster team of the moment, Derry, challenge the best team in the country, Dublin. The latter will want to win this game but will not want to expose too much before the championship. Derry, on the other hand, will want to win the Division 1 title and will have to show their hand if they are to do so.
This too will be an intriguing game. Dublin have been progressing with every game while Derry has shown magnificent form throughout their league campaign. So, we are in for a feast of football on Sunday.
A furious debate has been raging this past while in respect of club fixtures being deferred to accommodate inter-county players. This always has been an issue not only in Donegal but throughout the country.
I do not have any solutions to put forward nor will I be siding with any party involved. The only contribution I have to make is in respect of playing football on Good Friday.
Of all the holy days in the Christian calendar, this is the most important and the most solemn. We have already lost Christmas to consumerism and commercialism. As an organisation who upholds standards in respect of morals such as racism isn’t it time for the GAA to have the courage to stand up and respect Good/Holy Friday for what it is in a country that is still predominantly Catholic.
Games were called off here in Donegal but it certainly wasn’t to respect Good Friday. The GAA as an organisation is moving further away from much of what it originally stood for. Take the recednt Sky TV deal. Gaelic football and hurling have evolved into a major money making machine, for whom? It is certainly not for the players or their mentors. End of rant!
End of Moyes
So Manchester United have sacked David Moyes and installed Ryan Giggs as caretaker manager. I find it amazing that this has been headline news on every television news channel and Newspaper these past few days. Who cares? Obviously an awful lot of people. He may receive a pay-off up to £10 million. Details have not yet been finalised. The amount of monies paid to managers and to players in professional soccer in the English premiership is immoral.
In fairness to the GAA we are a drop in the ocean compared to these superstars. We are being entertained by your inter-county footballers you can rest assured that none of them is receiving a cent for their efforts.
The problem in the United camp seems to have stemmed from the players not having respect for Moyes. How could players with super egos have respect for anything or anybody? Money and avarice have ruined the game of soccer. With the GAA’s venture into the commercial world and particularly the latest deal with SKY TV it will be difficult for the organisation to uphold its amateur ethos. We already have paid employees in the GAA, so why not the players? This debate will surely be topical in the near future.
Unfortunately, I will miss Donegal’s game against Monaghan this Sunday due to a prior engagement in Krakow, Poland. Sunday 27th is a special day. If you don’t already know what it is, watch this space next week. Keep the faith!