It was a difficult week in the lead up to the RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta Senior Championship final, but it ended well for St. Eunan’s, who were worthy winners on the day.
The doubt over whether the showpiece of the Donegal GAA season would go ahead at all due to the appeal of Naomh Conaill, put a dampener on things up until Friday night/Saturday morning.
As they say in political circles there are still questions to be answered in that debacle, but without full knowledge, I will not attempt to go into them.
While the final on Sunday was no classic, it did attract a great crowd on a dull day.
The mixture of youth and experience in the St. Eunan’s side was a winning formula and manager, Maxi Curran, must take a bow for coming up with a plan to curtail Michael Murphy, Neil Gallagher and Co.
That was not an easy task but the re-location of Sean Hensey proved a master stroke. Maxi couldn’t claim credit for the injury to Kevin Rafferty, which saw the ageless John Haran forced to a midfield role, where he became the fulcrum of the Letterkenny challenge.
The youth of St. Eunan’s also got to show their worth, all of them buying into the need for patience - from a magnificent display from corner back Conor Parke to 17-year-old Rory Carr, who played more like a 30-year-old, winning dirty ball and competing against players almost twice his age.
Glenswilly are limited, in some respects, with an awful lot of responsibility hanging on a few players. The loss of Ciaran Bonner to injury probably ended their challenge early in the second half.
Overall the club championship has been a success, although it remains to be seen if the same format will be used next year. New county manager, Rory Gallagher, says he wants to meet with officials to work out a formula. Given that Donegal are involved in the preliminary round of the Ulster Championship in mid-May, the task of slotting in club championship games will not be an easy one.
A way will have to be found to play some of the club championship games when the sun is a little higher in the sky. There will be resistance, especially with the Donegal minors likely to be challenging for honours also.
With Donegal playing Tyrone in the opening game on May 17th, 2015, there will be a possibility to play one round of championship fixtures on weekend of 24th May, as Donegal would not be playing their quarter-final until June 14th. However, if Donegal were to be reach an Ulster semi-final, there would be no further window to play a club championship round until the Sunday after the Ulster final.
It is a dilemma that will continue until Croke Park take control of all fixtures and provide a window for the club championship to take place simultaneously in all four provinces.
We won’t be holding our breath in that regard.
In the meantime, let’s get behind St. Eunan’s as they embark on an Ulster campaign. Donegal sides have had some success in recent years with Naomh Conaill and Glenswilly reaching Ulster finals. This young Letterkenny side can follow in those footsteps, and with big guns Crossmaglen Rangers, St. Gall’s and Kilcoo gone, there is plenty to play for.