It was another good weekend on the playing fields with the minors winning the Ulster Minor League with a good win over Derry in the final on Saturday.
That is back-to-back minor league titles something we have only done twice before, in 1962’63 and 1984-’85.
So it is a big achievement and is not one that should be taken as a matter of fact. A big congratulations to Declan and the players.
The win and the minor league campaign has set them up nicely for the defence of the Ulster Minor championship. That begins with Tyrone in three weeks in Ballybofey. But my advice to Declan and the boys is be wary of Tyrone.
There is a lot of talk about this year’s minor team. Chat about they are a better team than last year and the best minor team ever to leave the county. That may very well be the case, but it is feet on the ground time for Declan Bonner and the boys now.
While we beat Tyrone well in the league, they are still a very good outfit. And the word in Tyrone is that they are a very talented bunch of players and when we met them they were well behind us in their preparations, but that they have got in a lot of good work since and will be a different kettle of fish come May 17th.
Their delay in preparations was down to finalising the re-appointment of Mickey Donnelly as manager after a squabble developed over the appointment. This is bound to make Mickey extra determined to do well and he has also been joined by Ryan McMenamin and Brian McGuigan in his backroom team. As we all know only too well that a good row can often be a great unifying force.
We have a very good minor team and there can be no denying that fact. But a word of caution - I would appeal to all concerned and especially to supporters to not get too carried away with this success and lose the run of themselves.
There are still a number of stiff hurdles down the road and not least of all Tyrone in Ballybofey in three weeks.
I have the same words of caution for the seniors for their May 17th clash with the Red Hands. After our big win over them in the league in Ballybofey an awful lot of people seem to be dismissing the Tyrone challenge and already talking about facing Armagh, in the next round.
That is dangerous chat. I have no worries at all that Rory Gallagher and the management team will be thinking like that. But I would be concerned that the supporters view would seep through to the players.
I feel we have a better team than Tyrone. But I also know that Tyrone are much better than they showed against us the last day in Ballybofey. They will have done a fair bit of soul searching after the last day and they will be stung by the criticism that followed. The U-21s have since won the Ulster U-21 championship and are playing Tipperary in the All-Ireland final next Saturday. The U-21s run will have been a big boost and don’t be surprised to see a few of them in Ballybofey on the 17th.
And in case of any doubts that they will be a different proposition let me remind you they beat us by 18 points, 1-22 to 0-7, in the 2004 Dr McKenna Cup final in Ballybofey, the late Cormac Anallen’s last game. He was the captain.
Six months later we turned that result around and beat them by five points, 1-11 to 0-9, in the Ulster semi-final in Clones. They were the reigning All-Ireland champions at the time. That was the day Colm McFadden scored 1-7. Need I say anymore.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.