Donegal have to learn from Naomh Conail run
A hearty well done to Naomh Conaill. I know they didn't win on Sunday. But they did well and represented the county well.
And I suppose the difference between the sides was Crossmaglens's great experience and ability to win in tight situations. They have been down that road so often in the past and have vast experience of playing tough hard games and coming out on the right side of the result.
Really you can't buy that experience. And of course they had Jamie Clarke. He is something special and a class forward. But Naomh Conaill will have learned a lot from the game and the run to the final and they will be a better team for it. It has been a good campaign for them and has given football in the county a great lift. A big well done to Cathal Corey and the boys and we must not forget either all those that have been working away with underage at the club over the last ten years or so.
They have done a tremendous job to bring Naomh Conaill from a club who were up and down between Intermediate and Senior football for years to where they are now - the county's premier club team.
They certainly have been no overnight success. But they have set the template and it is up to others now to follow. It is up to the likes of Four Masters, Gaoth Dobhair, Glenswilly, St. Eunan's, St. Michael's, Ardara, Dungloe, Kilcar and Killybegs to take the Naomh Conaill lead. Indeed I would also include clubs like my own Bundoran and Cloughaneely in those that should use Naomh Conaill as an example.
Naomh Conaill have set the mark it is up to others to follow for the good of Donegal football.
It's Nineteen years since we last had a team in an Ulster Club senior final and 35 since we had our ownly win and that is far too long. It is a great indicator to where the standard of football is at in the county and is reflected in our county team in recent years. We simply don't have enough quality players coming through.
Hopefully, Naomh Conaill have turned the corner this year. But even so looking at the bigger picture I still think it is something we are going to have to look at once County Convention is over and we start planning for next year.
Let it be amalgamated teams for the championship like they have in Cork and Kerry or whatever I think we have to take steps to improve the standard of football in the county.
Naomh Brid won the U-21 B final and deservedly so even if it was a bitter pill for us in Bundoran to swallow. They were the best team on the day and they fully deserved their win.
Bundoran got off to the best start, but Naomh Brid hit back and were level at half-time and it was no more than they deserved. While it took a late Shane Walsh goal to tie it up at the break, moments earlier it took a point blank save from Ashley Mulhern to deny them. The fact that Mulhern was man of the match underlines which team carried the biggest threat and asked the most questions.
And while there was little between them in the second period Naomh Brid were the hungrier side and reaped their reward.
They had outstanding displays from Christopher Pryce in goals, Clint Walsh and Sam Burgess in defence and Alan McGirr and Tommy Gallagher in midfield; Darragh Brogan and Ross Gallagher up front. Ross is a son of the great Matt Gallagher and it is good to see the link being maintained.
Ashley Mulhern, Ryan Walsh, Adam Dunsmore, Peter McGonagle (until his ankle gave up on him in the second half), Adam Coyne, Michael McEniff, Jonny Ward and Shane Moohan all played well for Bundoran. Overall it was a very good game with a good crowd and well refereed by Paddy McBride.
Finally, a word of congratulations to the Four Masters club for having Tir Chonaill Park in great shape, and I especially appreciated the warm cup of tea and the rich tea biscuits served up by my old adversary Gerry Timoney, from my visits to the US in years gone by.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.