Jimmy 'Beag' was a genuine Gael

MAYO UP AGAINST IT ON SUNDAY

Jimmy 'Beag' was a genuine Gael

Jimmy ‘Beag’ Cunningham was an astute mentor and a great Gael

I begin on a sad note this week and the death of Jimmy ‘Beag’ Cunningham from Carrick.

Jimmy ‘Beag’ died last week after a short illness. I had been aware that he had not been well, but it came a huge shock when I got the call from Paddy ‘Beag’ (Gillespie) on Monday morning, that he had lost his battle.

Jimmy was a great Gael and a great football man. He was a member of my backroom team for the best part of five years in the 1980s. He joined my management team as a mentor/selector in 1980 and he was with me until 1985.

He was a very good mentor. He had no agendas and it didn’t matter to Jimmy what club a player came from. It was all about a player’s ability as far as he was concerned and it was alway about putting the best Donegal team on the field. I would safely say he never missed a training session or a game in the five years. He was a good reader of a game and was very astute on the line.

He was also very popular with the players. I had good time for Jimmy. He was a good player in his playing days and captained Kilcar to the 1963 three final and he will be missed. He was also a shrewd manager. He managed Glen to a first senior championship, in 1978.

Ar Dheis Dé ar a anam

The countdown is on to the All-Ireland final. Dublin and Mayo meet in the final with Dublin the favourites.

Last February at a function in Westport, I tipped Mayo. I have to confess it was tongue in cheek. Ten months on Mayo have stumbled to the final without breaking any eggs.

With the exception of Tyrone they haven’t really been tested to any great extent on their way to the final.

The reality is that they are going to have to play out of their skins and have one of those days that Mayo are always capable of producing. But they are facing a very good Dublin team. I have great time for the Dublin manager. It is difficult to see anything but a Dublin win and if Mayo do not step up it could be a big Dublin win.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.