McKenna Cup did not work out well

YOUTH MUST BE GIVEN THEIR CHANCE

McKenna Cup did not work out well

At the outset it seemed a good idea but unfortunately that is not the way it worked out.

I refer, of course, to Donegal’s decision to field an U-21 team in the Dr McKenna Cup.

I know hindsight is 20/20 vision but it was a bad decision and made even worse by the fact that we were not able to field our strongest team in any of the three games.

If we are to take any positives out of this year’s McKenna Cup, is that it exposed those that did feature to good quality opposition.

They played against a good UUJ team and strong Cavan and Tyrone outfits. And while we suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Cavan and Tyrone, they were desperately unlucky to lose to UUJ.

In fairness, too, they stayed with Cavan for three quarters game.

Hopefully, Declan Bonner will have learned something about his squad and it will be of some assistance to him as he prepares for the championship game with Tyrone in March.

With the McKenna Cup behind us our thoughts turn to the seniors and the National League. It won’t be long now until we face Kerry in Letterkenny.

I was reading last week in the national press where Eamonn Fitzmaurice was hoping to hit the ground running at the start of the league.

This would be something of a change of approach in the Kingdom. They normally are slow starters and they have often in the past given away handy enough points in their early games.

Given the departures Rory is going to have to go with a number of players in the league and give them a chance.

The likes of Michael Carroll, Michael Langan, Jason McGee and Niall O’Donnell are the players that come to mind. These are the lads that impressed me most in the McKenna Cup and are the positives to come out of the three games so far. I’m told that O’Donnell is not part of the senior squad, but he could be brought in.

I know people say they are very young and Niall and Jason McGee are only out of minor grade. But that would not concern me; going back to my own days I was only out of minor when I made my debut in the Lagan Cup.

In 1981 I remember I brought in a whole crop of young players. Matt and Pauric Gallagher, Brian Tuohy, Tommy McDermott, Joyce McMullan; Joyce was only 17; Paul Carr, Charlie Mulgrew and Lanty and Anthony Molloy were in that group and two years later they won the Ulster Championship.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.