Ciaran McGee on the ball for Pettigo in the Junior B final against Convoy. Photo Geraldine Diver
There is a big weekend of club championship action ahead with the big game the clash of St. Eunan’s and Gaoth Dobhair on Sunday. Gaoth Dobhair have a good young team but they will need Odhran MacNiallais and Kevin Cassidy when they face Letterkenny. I have to give the nod to St. Eunan’s but I won’t be surprised if Gaoth Dobhair win.
In the other games it is hard to see any surprises. Bundoran will be short Shane McGowan and Jamie Brennan against a Kilcar team that have up to seven players on county panels and the wily old Michael Hegarty around midfield.
We played St. Michael’s a few weeks ago and Colm McFadden was flying and they should get over burt while Naomh Conaill are sitting in the wings and with Leo (McLoone) back they won’t be easily beaten.
There is a big game in the Intermediate Championship also with Cloughaneely meeting Milford and it looks like it will be a good Intermediate championship.
And wasn’t it great to see two shocks in the hurling championship with St. Eunan’s and Setanta to meet in the final. It shows that there are now four good clubs in the county.
We now know the four names in the race for Donegal manager and with no ties, I’m free to comment. We have two from outside the county, Cathal Corey, who did good work with Naomh Conaill, and Seamus McEnaney from a big GAA family in Monaghan. Banty has county experience with Monaghan, Meath and Wexford but hasn’t had much success. His brother Pat was one of the best referees ever while another brother, Frank, played midfield for Monaghan. I would have met him more than 30 years ago and he is very committed.
From Donegal we have Shaun Paul Barrett, who has been part of the rise of Milford and won an Ulster minor title last year. I'm disappointed that Gary McDaid has pulled out, given his great record of three club championship wins.
And lastly we have Declan Bonner, who has brought a bunch of players through from U-16, U-18 and U-21 and got Donegal to a first ever All-Ireland minor final. He was a little unlucky this year with the U-21s as they didn’t have a level playing field when winning Ulster on a Monday and having to play All-Ireland semi-final the following Saturday.
But no matter who takes over I feel there are going to be two very difficult years ahead. Expectation will have to be lowered and retaining Division One league status is vital.
Based on all the facts I would have a leaning towards Declan Bonner but I would like to see a role for the other two Donegal boys, whether that be as part of the senior backroom team or at U-20 level.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Peter Campbell