Sean McGinley and Seamus Gallagher were in Bundoran last week to see the opposition. They are pictured with Brian McEniff
“It’s a mammoth task but there is no pressure on us. Our target at the start of the year was the quarter-finals, but we will have a go.”
Those were the thoughts of Bundoran manager, Francie Martin, ahead of the clash of the Seasiders with Dr. Maguire favourites, Kilcar on Sunday, in an historic match in MacCumhaill Park (2 p.m.)
The game will be the first shown on eirSport in Ireland as part of a new deal between the TV company and Croke Park.
Martin, a veteran of many championship games as a player and manager, knows that he is up against it and when told that the forecast was for rain, quickly replied: “That might help!”
It’s a David v Goliath affair and with Bundoran missing Jamie Brennan (suspension) and Shane McGowan (working in Estonia), the task has Everest connotations.
“With a full team, maybe (we could give them a game), but we’re hoping for the best. Kilcar have a lot of runners. Bundoran are big and mobile but the speed of Kilcar will be a problem,” says Martin.
“It’s a big occasion but we have introduced three young players this year in Cian McEniff, Paul Murphy and Timmy Goverov and we have three more to come in next year,” says the Glenfin man.
He points out that league form has been mixed but that they have won five of the seven games played when they had their county players and he wasn’t happy with the Star game arrangements.
As for the absentees - “Jamie is a wild big loss and Shane has been playing well at centre-half this year.”
Kilcar certainly aren’t taking Bundoran for granted as they had a full complement in Gaelic Park on Sunday last to take in their league game with St. Eunan’s.
Meanwhile, Kilcar manager, Barry Doherty was in Bundoran on Sunday to run the rule over their opponents. “We want to treat everyone with respect. We only played Bundoran once this year and that was at home.”
When put to him that Kilcar are odds on favourites, he replied: “In the past we know what can happen. We have to get a performance and if we do we will be in with a good chance.”
Kilcar have Andrew McClean back from the US as well as Stephen McBrearty and Doherty is happy that both are in good form.
Doherty feels there is a good buzz around Towney since the county boys have returned to training full time with the club.
In his first season as Kilcar manager, Barry says he learned a lot with Na Rossa last year and is still learning. “We try to approach every game differently. There will always be expectation but at the end of the day this group of players have to do it for themselves. If they go out and perform, they won’t be too far away.”
Don’t rule out Shane McGowan being in MacCumhaill Park for the game. However, they would need both Jamie Brennan and Shane to be in with any chance in this game.
Kilcar were taught a harsh lesson last year and by all accounts are not taking Bundoran for granted, given the amount of scouts they had in Gaelic Park on Sunday last.
They both play a similar type of game with Francie Martin using the talents that he has in Bundoran to get them on the front foot and run at the opposition.
Kilcar are similar, but they also have superior talent at their disposal. They were able to utilise Michael Hegarty in a sweeping role very successfully against Glenswilly and that could be a big factor in the remaining games.
The firepower of the south-west side is impressive and Patrick McBrearty is taking on more responsibility since being given the captaincy.
Bundoran will be able to compete around the middle with Ciaran McCaughey but they just don’t have enough in other areas.
Anything other than a Kilcar win would be a major shock.