Eamon reaches milestone game on Saturday

Eamon reaches milestone game on Saturday
Gerry McLaughlin sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

It’s really exciting times for one of Donegal GAA’s great icons.

For the eternally mercurial Eamon McGee, tall and lean citizen of Dore, Gaoth Dobhair, has gone from babysitting and whispering some sweet nothings in the ear of one Sean Quigley, to babysitting his new darling daughter, Daisy, who arrived last week

And to cap it he is set to join the pretty exclusive 150 club in the green and gold of Tir Conaill.

For on Saturday Eamon will hit 150 not out.

He now joins other legends like Christy Toye from St. Michael’s, who has 158 appearances including 60 championships starts.

Toye will now join Aodh Ruadh’s pocket rocket Brian Roper who was in second spot with 159.

But the daddy of them all remains Colm Anthony McFadden who has a remarkable 171 appearances including 62 championships starts.

“It’s been a hectic time between contending with Sean Quigley on the Sunday.

“And then on the following Tuesday night I had to give Joanne a hand when she was giving birth to our new baby daughter, Daisy.

“So I don’t know which was the worst situation,” said a beaming Eamon at the Donegal press gathering in the Sean MacCumhaill Centre Ballybofey on a balmy Monday afternoon.


“I will never complain about being under pressure again.

“Joanne and Daisy are home from hospital but it is probably a bad time of the year for us but we knew that coming in to it.

“Things have been great, there are big changes in our lives, but they are all very positive changes.”

“There was a bit of disruption to my training last week but Rory has been very accommodating and the boys have been very understanding also.

“So this week the whole focus will be on Monaghan and how can we get into an Ulster final.”

Eamon said he knew before the Fermanagh match that he would be “wrestling with Sean Quigley”.

“The championship training is where you are really tested and not the league so hopefully I am peaking at the right time.”

But when asked if he would be “wrestling with Conor McManus”, he demurs: “I think I will stay away from him.

“It will probably be one of the Hughes’, the way things are looking at present.

“But it does not matter who you pick up as it is going to be a battle and that has been the way it has been for the past three years.

“It will be physical.”

When asked if there was any sense of unfinished business with those 16 wides he said: “We lost it in the first half when you look at them wee lulls.

“You might get away with it against Fermanagh (Sean Quigley will love him even more for that one) or the lower division teams but when you are playing a Division One team of the quality of Monaghan you are going to get punished.

“For that first half in last year’s final we just dropped away below our standards for 20-25 minutes of that first half.

“And they really maximised things so we can’t really say it was wides but this is where we lost it.”

So does pain of Ulster final defeats affect Donegal unduly.

“When we lost to Monaghan in the final of 2013, we had a lot of injuries and were running on empty and then we ran into a quality Mayo team and they just blew us away.

“The Ulster final of 2015 took the wind out of our sails and then we beat Galway with a good performance.”

But Eamon then questioned the provincial series. “It has come to a stage where you just have to say that it has run its course. Something should be done about it.

“You have to think about the club game, too, and how do you condense the season.

“It is striking a balance between getting the best of the intercounty season and the club season.

“This is an amateur organisation and the club is at its heart and it takes pride in that.

“But it is pretty obvious that the club is just secondary at the minute.”


When asked if he would want the end to the provincial championships he said: “There has to be a change, and some competition is going to have to take a hit whether it be Ulster Championship or the League to shorten the season.”

When asked if last year’s defeat forced the older soldiers to consider their future he was quite emphatic.

“You have to see why this is being said and where they are coming from.

“There were quite a number of reasons for people to be saying that Eamon McGee should be going.

“I hope they added Big Neil Gallagher to that list,” he suddenly quipped.

“When you come to a certain age and you have a bad game, people are inevitably going to say that this is the end of such and such.

“They said that about Conor Gormley and Philip Jordan of Tyrone every year.

“That is just the nature of it and you are always being questioned but it does not bother me. I am just going to do the best I can.

“It is not going to make me train harder because I just train harder to improve myself.”

Eamon revealed that Joe Kernan gave him a first ever call up to the Aussie Rules team last Autumn, but he had to decline.

“It was nice to get the call up and it was my first, but I knew there was another year in me and I had to think about Joanne and I turned it down.

“But I am not satisfied as I look back on the 2014 All-Ireland final defeat as one of the biggest regrets of my football career.

“I would like one last shot at it.”