Martin McElhinney in action against Down on Sunday Picture: Thomas Gallagher
Tonight's game for Donegal against Cavan in the Bank of Ireland Dr. McKenna Cup will be an historic one for St. Michael's man, Martin McElhinney, as he joins the Donegal '100 Club', playing his 100th senior game in county colours.
McElhinney won an Ulster minor championship medal with Donegal in 2006 and made his championship debut a year later. He is the holder of four Ulster Senior Championship medals and an All-Ireland senior from 2012.
On Sunday last, he made his first start in this year’s Bank of Ireland McKenna Cup, as he picked up a well-deserved man of the match accolade in Newry.
And it was richly deserved as he turned in a commanding display at midfield and also weighed in with four well struck points.
Also, this has been the first time in quite a few winters that he has been injury free after coming back to live in Donegal permanently last year, after eight long years travelling back to Donegal from Dublin.
And there will be another milestone for the St. Michael's man on Wednesday night when he plays his 100th game for Donegal.
“This was my first full start this year and I only came back in late and came on in the second half against Queen's and it is good to get back in and to get a win.
“We have two victories and we also want to keep winning and to give young lads game time.”
“There is great competition for places and a very strong squad there, probably the strongest I have been involved in.
“And there will be other fellows coming back next week with loads of opportunities and a real battle for places.
“So it is a question of putting up your hand.”
And this is a very different year for the rangy St Michael’s man as injury badly curtailed him last year.
“I would say I only trained about three times last year.
“So I got back in early this year and got a good pre-season in.
“All three games last year were against Tyrone which were kind of funny.”
Martin is back in Buncrana and there is no big trek after training.
“It makes a wile difference as I had a three-hour trek after training for eight years and I am happy about that.
“It makes a big difference, you drive down from Dublin and maybe be stuck for an hour in traffic in Dublin before you land in Convoy and then a hard training session.
“It takes you an hour to loosen out and then the training is over in a half and hour.
“Four of us used to travel in the car, “Papa”, Marty O'Reilly and Murphy were all there at different stages but then I was on my own.”
But he would not have been travelling up and down to Dublin if he did not have a great “appetite” for playing for Tir Conaill.
“I still enjoy it and I am keep pushing on.”
He added: “The Dr McKenna is a good learning curve for us all.”
“There is great competition for places and it is a good thing to have.”