Gaoth Dobhair goalkeeper Christopher Sweeney bidding for a second championship winners medal
Christopher Sweeney, the Gaoth Dobhair goalkeeper, was sitting on the bench and understudy to his namesake, Sean Sweeney, when Gaoth Dobhair last got their hands on the Dr Maguire Cup.
Fast forward 12 seasons and Christopher has taken over the coveted number one shirt but is still waiting to win a second Donegal senior medal.
“It has been a long 12 years and a lot of long winters and we are just glad to be in the final again.
“I took over in goals from Sean the following year and I have been there ever since, 12 years and it is a long time without even playing in another final never mind not winning one,” said Christopher.
Since ‘06 there have a good number of squads and players worthy of winning a county championship.
“But that is unfortunately the way things have panned out. Things have changed this year and last.
“We always felt we had a good squad of players but I suppose it was the success of the U-21 team and the maturity of those lads that brought about the change of fortune.
“The young lads have brought that success into the senior team and us older lads said we will do whatever it takes to match their ability.”
“They have also been successful in Donegal winning Ulster Minor, U-21 and senior championships.
“They were coming down to training and expressing their ideas and after a while the rest of us started to learn from them. They were winners and I think it was then the penny finally dropped and we realised the quality of the players coming through and we decided to go for it.”
The collective Gaoth Dobhair light bulb moment came last season when they qualified for the quarter-finals of the championship for the first team in donkey’s years.”
They emerged along with Kilcar from one of those group of deaths that also included Glenswilly and Ardara.
“We played Kilcar in the first game in Towney and we ran them to three points and we were without Kieran Gillespie. And then we beat Glenswilly, who were in the county final the year and Ardara in Magheragallon.
“To qualify for the quarter-final and to beat Glenswilly was a massive boost and we really took off from there.
“We then beat St Eunan’s in a tight game which was another lift and then Naomh Conaill beat us by a point in the semi-final after we had been six points up at half-time.
“That defeat really hurt over the winter month and was a tough defeat to take and is still etched in our minds.”