Ulster got a great result on Sunday to win the Railway Cup (Interprovincial). And it was especially pleasing from a Donegal point of view that it was one of our men that did the business when the fat was in the fire.
Fair play to Neil McGee, he hit the all important goal to snatch it at the death to win it by two points. As I said here last week, Neil is playing well again and showed great form last week against Connacht too.
But it was also good from a Donegal perspective that both Karl Lacey and Rory Kavanagh were also on the team. I’m also delighted for big Joe (Kernan); he put in a big effort and has a great gra for the competition.
In fairness to Munster they contributed to an entertaining game and they seemingly put in a big effort under Ger O’Sullivan from Cork. Munster and O’Sullivan showed the competition the respect it deserves, but it was good that Ulster won. We have always had great regard for the competition and great tradition in the competition and from that point of view it was good that we maintained that tradition on Sunday.
An attendance of close on 3000 was not bad, but I feel it should have been much better. And with a bit more promotion and marketing it more than likely would have been. There is no reason why a special package was not put in place to get all schools in Armagh and the adjacent counties to the game.
People know my affinity with the competition down the years and I’m a great supporter of the Railway Cup. And I’m not the only one. The players love it. I was glad to hear Darren Hughes, the Ulster captain say in his address how much the players liked the competition and how they loved playing in it.
However, I do accept, if it is to survive, a greater effort is going to have to be made in promoting and marketing it by Croke Park. I accept fully that will take money and time, but could I suggest to those that are worried about cost and finance; if they were to take just a tenth of the International Series budget and set it aside for the series they would have more than enough.
As good and as all as it was to win on Sunday, the most important thing for us here in Donegal is to focus on next weekend’s game in the league with Cork.
With the way the league has gone so far for us this is a big game and an important game for Jim and the boys. We have only two games at home after next Sunday, so it is important that we take something out of the meeting with the Rebels.
And on that front it was good to see Michael Murphy back in action and playing for DCU at the weekend in the Sigerson Cup. Indeed congratulations to Michael and the rest of the Donegal boys Michael Boyle, Antoin McFadden and Martin McElhinney, on winning the Sigerson. I also think young Cathal Ellis from Naomh Conaill was also a member of the DCU panel.
I watched the Sigerson final on Saturday and naturally enough I took an interest in Michael when he came on to see how he was going. Understandably, he was a bit off the pace given that he has been out of action for well over a month. But he still managed to kick a point and while I don’t think he is ready to return to county football just yet, I would like to see him on the bench against Cork. He would be a good man to throw on with ten or 15 minutes to go in what is a big game for us and one we need to get a result from, though I fully accept it is not going to be easy. I would also like to see a big Donegal crowd in Ballybofey on Sunday to get behind the team; it could be the difference in what I expect to be a close game.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.