Overall I have to say yesterday’s performance was disappointing except a brief period at the start of the game when we looked sharp.
It was a tough day to lose to Monaghan but they’ll have to dust themselves off for the championship.
Donegal didn’t become a bad team overnight and they can take some comfort that Derry were well beaten by Dublin. I couldn’t attend the game and watched from bed.
Donegal were very listless, or lethargic, for whatever reason. Maybe they worked very hard on their sun holiday but they had no zip about them at all. I wouldn’t think too many of them would be happy with their overall display.
To put a positive spin on it maybe it was good to get a defeat out of the way before the championship. Plus Derry took a thumping and that will have damaged their morale. Rory was red carded and rightly so from what I saw. There was ill discipline in the side which we can ill afford because referees have options, black cards, yellow cards, red cards, so we can’t afford that. I know Monaghan are a difficult side to play against; they’re constantly in your face but you have to get used to that because further down the line we might meet them in an Ulster final should we progress and we’ll just have to live with that level of team and that level of play.
Still, it was hard to comprehend what went wrong, even after we lost Rory. There wasn’t enough men playing and we were not picking up enough loose ball. Overall we took a tanking between the two fifties and the two lads inside were up against it. They got 1-8 between them and that is a worry going forward because only two points came from the other forwards. That’s a poor return.
But they do have time now. It could be as much psychological as anything else because we have the players, who are as good as there is in the province. Jim will get them up to a certain pitch so I’m hoping in the four weeks they can turn it around. They must dust themselves down and concentrate now on the Derry match.
I must congratulate Declan Bonner and the Donegal Minor team on their league victory. It was a great performance and it shows there has been a lot of work done. It is great for the future development of our county team. Again, they’ll not find it easy going to Celtic Park either because you have Maghera, Magherafelt and, to a lesser degree, St Columb’s feeding players into their squad. That said, I have great hopes we’ll progress to an Ulster final and possibly win it this year.
I attended John Hannigan’s wake on Thursday and I have to say I was very upset because, first of all, he was just a fine man. One of nature’s gentlemen. But as a footballer he was among one of the top five or six players of all time for Donegal.
His versatility would have cost him recognition outside of the county to a degree because he could play anywhere from full-back to full-forward and as such, Donegal used him so. I was elected team manager in 1972 and John had retired but I coaxed him back into the squad to fulfil a role, which he did. He had great quick thinking, unselfish thinking and could see the bigger picture of the game.
His passing is a huge loss to his family, his club of St Eunan’s, whom he served very well. He got a man of the match performance in the 1967 county final against St Joseph’s. It was a display that had to be seen to be believed.
His loss will also be felt across the county at large.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Eamonn McFadden