Neil McGee moves on without big brother

Tom Comack @dgldemocrat

Neil McGee is up and running for the new season and preparing to move on alone after the retirement of big brother, Eamon.

With Donegal back in harness and gearing up for the new season which gets going after Christmas with the Dr McKenna Cup, it will be a season with a difference for the All-Star full-back.

Next year will be his 13th season and in that time Eamon has been his constant companion in the defence.

However, following his surprise retirement a few days after Donegal’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Dublin, after 14 seasons in the Donegal shirt, Eamon will be no longer part of the setup.

“The fact that he is not going to be part of the squad is not something that I have given much thought to really,” said Neil, who also admitted that they had they had not discussed the retirement before Eamon made the announcement

“I probably won’t give it much thought either until we get back playing again and he is not there.”

Neil also insists they have not discussed the retirement much since and that he did not try to persuade him to change his mind.

“He made his decision and I don’t think that he discussed it much with anyone. He just made the announcement on Twitter and has moved on.

“I have to confess it came as a surprise to me like it did to a lot of people because he was after having a good championship.

“He still was competitive and had played well.

“I think the way Eamon looked at it is was that he wanted to get out when he was competitive and on his own terms and before he was pushed.

“It is the right way to do it. How often do you see star players staying on and eventually being dropped and their reputations being tarnished.

“He got out when he was playing well and still competitive and might have even another season in his legs.”

On the chances of Eamon having second thoughts and making a dramatic return from retirement, Neil thinks it is highly unlikely.

“You can never say never, but I don’t think he will be back.

“The only way I could see him making a comeback was if we were hit with a spate of injuries and were down in numbers.

“Eamon is a specialist marker and we don’t have too many in the squad at present.

“We have a lot of good half-back type players but very few good tight man markers.

“If a situation arose that we picked up a number of injuries and were down in numbers at the back and he was wanted, I have no doubt he would return.

“But that is the only way I can see him returning and hopefully we don’t pick up any injuries and the situation doesn’t arise.

“He has made his decision and he is happy with it and the time has come to move on.”