U-21 finals restored my faith in football

Congrats to Ryan McHugh on All-Star

U-21 finals restored my faith in football

My faith in football has been restored. It happened last Monday in Ballybofey after watching the two county U-21 finals.

Killybegs and Letterkenny Gaels in the B final and Gaoth Dobhair and Aodh Ruadh were two quality games of football and proof that the modern game is not all about defensive football.

And that teams that go for it and play a more expansive and attacking game can also enjoy success.

In the B final, Killybegs came out on top against Letterkenny Gaels. But only just after the Letterkenny boys showed great character to come from six points down at one stage to draw level and set-up a grandstand finish.

Killybegs were that bit stronger. But there was not much in it. Michael Gallagher, who is only 17, scored 1-5 for Killybegs in a man of the match performance. He is still a minor next year and looks like a player for the future. I have a feeling this won’t be the last we’ll hear of him. Eoghan ‘Ban’ Gallagher and Shaun Gorrell were the other Killybegs men to catch the eye.

And it was good to see county senior Hugh McFadden, who is only out of U-21 himself, managing Killybegs.

If the B final was a game of high quality, it was even surpassed by the A final. This was the best U-21A final I have seen in the county for years and may have even been the best one ever. It was a game of the highest quality and it really warmed the cockles of my heart.

It looked like at half-time as if we were in for another upset in a county final when Aodh Ruadh led by four points, thanks to first half goals from David McGurrin and Colm Kelly and a great opening 30 minutes from Niall Harley in the middle of the field. Harley did really well against Michael Carroll and Ciaran Gillespie, two county seniors.

But Gaoth Dobhair are a quality side. Michael Carroll scored 1-4, all from play, in a man of the match performance. Cian Mulligan and Gavin McBride were my other standout Gaoth Dobhair men.

David McGurrin scored 1-7 with only three of the points from frees in what was some achievement in a county final against a quality opposition.

The only disappointment was the poor crowd.

Finally this week, congratulations to Ryan McHugh on his All-Star. It was well deserved. He had a great season for club and county. Commiserations to Paddy McGrath and Patrick McBrearty.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.