Average year with lessons to be learned

REVIEW OF 2016

Average year with lessons to be learned

Before we draw a line in the sand on the county season, as seasons go 2016 will go down as average one.

We got the league off to a great start and won our first three games and then proceeded to lose the next four.

And albeit we qualified for the semi-final we were we were well beaten by Dublin, a fifth straight defeat.

But we regrouped and had a good win over Fermanagh in Ballybofey and we then overcame Monaghan after two hard games.

In the Ulster final, albeit that we were leading with the 70 minutes up, we did not play well and we were caught with late Tyrone points.

The disappointing thing about that defeat was that after we went four up early in the second half we did not kick on.

There comes a time in a game when you have to go for the jugular. And the early minutes of the second half against Tyrone when Patrick McBrearty kicked us into a 0-8 to 0-4 lead, was such a time.

All it probably would have taken is one more score to break Tyrone. But we didn’t and remained far too defensive. It was definitely another case of one that got away.

Again last weekend when they chance presented itself against Dublin after Ryan McHugh’s goal had handed us a lifeline we did not go for it and push up.

But there is no point in shedding too many tears now over spilled milk.

It is time to move on. Apart from the fact that we are going to have to be more attack minded we are also going to have to freshen up the squad and introduce some new blood. They should be the two big lessons from 2016.

Colm McFadden and Eamon McGee have retired and the indications from Rory Kavanagh is that he was going to do likewise. I suspect there will be a few more.

We are going to have to bring more of the minor squad from two years ago - the team that reached the All-Ireland final - into the squad.

The club championship starts now in a couple of weeks and it will give Rory (Gallagher) - I presume he is staying on - and his mentors an opportunity to look at what is coming through.

Despite the disappointing end, I’m still upbeat. Donegal football is in a good enough place.

Finally, this week best of luck to Shaun Paul Barrett and the minors on Sunday against Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Brian McEniff was in a conversation with Tom Comack.