DONEGAL CO. FINAL SPECIAL

DONEGAL CO. FINAL: A divided house in Regans of Glenties this week

Peter Campbell

Reporter:

Peter Campbell

DONEGAL CO. FINAL: A divided house in Regans of Glenties this week

Martin Regan with his father-in-law, Kilcar chairman, John Carr

"It has been quiet for the last week and it will be quiet for the next week but we will get back speaking in eight or nine days, hopefully," quips Martin Regan.

He is referring to the fact that his wife, Orla, is a Kilcar woman, daughter of Kilcar chairman, John Carr, a family steeped in the GAA DNA in Kilcar.

It is just another little sideshow in a mouthwatering county final pairing and the Naomh Conaill manager is looking forward to the game.

"County final is always a great occasion. This year probably more than most with the two teams in the final, seniors and reserves. That's a first and it's huge for the club and one we are looking forward to."

He is not undue worried about the local derby aspect of the contest.  "Our final with St. Eunan's a couple of years ago would have had a good rivalry too; and games between ourselves and Killybegs in 2010. No matter what team you play in a county final it is going to be a team that you have built up a rivalry with. It is no different from any other final.

"Kilcar have been, not just this year but for the last two or three years, very impressive. Like they dismantled us very easily in the semi-final last year. Even though we thought we played well in different stages of that game, they are a top outfit and they are going to take serious stopping. We'll just prepare as best as we can and we'll see where it takes us."

Regan feels that Naomh Conaill are in a better place now than in the semi-final last year when they went down heavily to Kilcar. "We have no injuries. Last year we had no Ethan (O'Donnell); Dara (Gallagher) was injured. We picked up a couple of injuries early in the game. Leo (McLoone) went off injured; Marty (Boyle) was injured at different stages. Fitness we felt we were in a good place, but we were coming off winning it the year before and it's hard to retain it.

"There's probably a bit more hunger this year. But look, we are preparing as best we can and we know we will come up against a very good team.

"They have serious pace, but they also have a lot of experience. They may not have won a championship. They have All-Ireland winners, Ulster winners and a lot of minor and U-21 championship. All they are missing is a senior championship, so there is going to be a hunger there with them as well.

"They have youth and experience and they will be well set up. They have been the standout team in the county over the past couple of years and we will have our hands full with them."

Asked if he would be praying for a little wind or rain in the coming week he  was not buying into that.

"I know there has been a lot said about Kilcar and a wet day but we seen them against St. Michael's on a  wet day and it didn't hold them back. We would put ourselves in a similar place to Kilcar in that we would like a dry ball. We have a lot of pace in our forward line and we feel we will have to put up a big score to beat Kilcar, so we would like a dry ball."

He also bats away the suggestion that the two best teams are in the final, feeling  that there is but a kick of a ball between a number of teams.

"We were a kick of the ball away from losing the game to Gaoth Dobhair the last day and people would be saying if Gaoth Dobhair were there, that Gaoth Dobhair were in the top two in the county. We are lucky to be there and there are five or six top teams in Donegal and if any two of them were there on Sunday, you would be saying that the two best were in the final.

"We're privileged to be there and we will prepare well and give it our best shot."

As for trying to stop the Kilcar running game, he says: "We will have to try to nullify them, but we are going to have to play to our own strengths as well. We could get bogged down in trying to slow down Kilcar. We feel we have good forwards that will cause Kilcar problems too. We will be looking at our own strengths."

Asked if he can enjoy his role as manager, he is adamant. "No. It's difficult. You're nervous in the build up to it; you're looking at this and looking at that. You're thinking, have I prepared properly; what more could be done. Then on the day, you're thinking what changes can be made. It's very difficult to enjoy it on the line.

"It's only afterwards, if you get success, and you can look back on the DVD and enjoy. And if you're beaten you probably don't want to look at that game ever again.

"The result is all that matters at the end of the day."