Donegal’s newest recruit to the senior squad Nathan Mullins has the pedigree and comes highly recommended.
It is also felt that Mullins - a big and powerful midfielder - could be the answer to Donegal’s lack of a physical presence in the middle third of the field.
Mullins is son of the legendary Dublin star, Brian Mullins. But also he is one of the top club midfielders in the capital.
The 27 year-old, who was born in Carndonagh and played minor and U-21 football for Donegal, was one of a number players that were drafted in by Declan Bonner, in the close season.
He was one of the form club players in the season just gone in Dublin senior championship and was one of the key men in the Northside club’s run to back-to-back Dublin championships.
Such was the quality of his play he was named alongside All-Ireland winner, James McCarthy, at midfield in the team of the championship.
And there is even word on the terraces in the capital that he was plucked by Bonner from under the nose of Dublin manager, Jim Gavin.
He also played U-21 football for Dublin and was a member of the Metropolitans 2010 All-Ireland winning squad.
They defeated Donegal in the final by two points in Kingspan Breffni Park, after Michael Murphy cracked a late penalty off the crossbar.
“The word on the ground in Dublin is that Jim Gavin was keeping a close eye on Nathan,” said Paddy Carr, former Donegal player and Ballymun Kickhams manager who were defeated by St Vincent’s in the Dublin, decider.
“You know the way Jim Gavin tries to freshen up the squad from year to year and going on his performances for St Vincent’s in this year championship, Nathan would fit the bill,” added Carr, who was a member of the selection panel that interviewed and selected Declan Bonner for the Donegal job.
“Nathan had a very good championship for St Vincent’s and was very influential in their championship run.
“He scored a spectacular goal against St Jude’s in the semi-final.
“I rate him very highly and he is a good all round footballer and of course football is in his DNA.
“He is something of an old style player. He is big and physical and could be just the type of player Donegal are looking for.
“And going on his form in the championship he is playing at the height of his potential and is a good acquisition for Donegal.”
Mullins had his first outing in a Donegal shirt against Roscommon in a challenge game a couple of weeks ago.
And by all reports he acquitted himself well in the 2-16 to 1-14 win over the Rossies, down in Roscommon.
He now looks set to start his first competitive outing on Wednesday night, against Queen’s University, Belfast, in the first round of the Dr McKenna Cup.
Nathan was born in Carndonagh and played underage football with Carndonagh right up to U-12 before the family moved back to Dublin.
Brian Mullins was one of the top midfielders in the game during his playing days in the 1970s and ‘80s.
The ‘70’ and ‘80s was a golden era for Dublin and in the ten years from 1974 to 1984, they played in seven finals, winning four of them and losing three.
It was the golden age of the great rivalry of Dublin and Kerry and the personal duels between Brian Mullins and Jack O’Shea.
Brian Mullins was on all four winning teams and his trophy cabinet also boasts two national league winners medals and nine Leinster championship medals. He also was twice an All-Star.
He also managed to combine a successful county career with an equally successful club playing career.
Like Nathan, St Vincent’s was his club with whom he won five Dublin and three Leinster senior championships.
He also won an All-Ireland club championship with Thomond College in Limerick.
After his playing days he was manager of Derry, leading them to National League success.
Brian Mullins was one of the all time great Gaelic football midfielders. If his offspring was only half the man his father was then Declan Bonner and Donegal have done a good deal.
But as we all know from recent days, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating!