Brian McEniff is hopeful that Donegal will start with a win against Derry

Brian McEniff is hopeful that Donegal will start with a win against Derry
I would be very hopeful that Donegal can get their Allianz League campaign off to a winning start against Derry in Ballybofey on Saturday night.

I would be very hopeful that Donegal can get their Allianz League campaign off to a winning start against Derry in Ballybofey on Saturday night.

Derry cannot be underestimated as they got to the League final last year on the back of having a good start to their campaign, including an away win in Kerry.

The absence of Chrissy McKaigue due to his involvement with Slaughneill will be a miss while we don’t know whether Eoin Bradley will be available.

Donegal need to target their homes games and maybe one away game. The away game I would target is the Kerry game. That is the Devil in me wanting revenge.

We should be challenging for a league final spot which would give us extra games and cut out the need to be looking for challenge games. It would also mean extra revenue for the county, which is always needed.

We have a good record against Derry. I know we lost out to them in the Dr. McKenna Cup but Rory Gallagher was experimenting in that game and Saturday night’s game will be a horse of a different colour.

I was in at Munday’s Field on Saturday to watch Donegal have an in-house game and it was a good workout.

The Possibles played well which is something that usually happens. Mark McHugh looked in quite good shape; Christy Toye is blossoming into a fine midfielder and it was good to see Karl Lacey back and looking quite sharp.

Rory Gallagher took charge of the whistle himself and he is not a bad referee!

It would be good for Rory to freshen up the squad. I’m not sure how many he is going to carry. It would be good to have players challenging those players who have the jersey at the moment.

The in-house game was played in Munday’s Field, Ballyshannon, which was in fantastic shape. It is a great facility and is better than many club grounds.

Changes planned

The changes proposed for the club and All-Ireland championship announced last week are worth a try. How it will work is hard to know, but we must give it a try. Whether bringing forward the All-Ireland hurling and football finals by a week will make much of a difference is hard to tell.

There has been an awful outcry in the last few years about the way club fixtures were going.

We in Bundoran had an example of this year when we were guaranteed second place in the league. That was on the first weekend of August. At that stage the championship had not even started and Bundoran had to wait until the first week of December before they played their league play-off with St. Michael’s. At that stage Bundoran could not catch Dungloe but still had to wait something like 13 weeks before playing their only other league game of any importance.

Of course, while the new proposals are worth a try, there needs to be a greater change. The Provincial championships are the elephant in the room. The Ulster championship is well ahead of the others in terms of competition and they would be loathe to change it, but there will come a time when we might have to change to groups - eight by four.

It takes time for the GAA to change. No more than it took them years to allow other games to take place on their grounds, changing the provincial championships will take time. That is the way of the GAA.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Peter Campbell