Before I look back on Saturday night’s game in Ballybofey let me first say I was very disappointed with the crowd.
I didn’t hear the official attendance and I’m not sure if it was revealed. But there is no getting away from it, the attendance was small given the teams involved, Naomh Conaill and Gaoth Dobhair, two big traditional GAA areas.
The general feeling is that TV is a factor with both semi-finals shown live eirSport.
I’m not sure if there is any statistical evidence to back up this viewpoint. But it is a topic worth discussing and teasing out.
Donegal, as a county, are against the Sky deal with Croke Park and yet we go and do a deal with an independent operator who charges for the coverage. The game was not for general view. Me thinks we are a little hypocritical.
As for the game, it was a cracking championship contest and the people that stayed away were the losers.
Gaoth Dobhair were the best team in the first half and they had Naomh Conaill on the rack at half-time, leading by six points.
But you have to hand it to Naomh Conaill for their second half fight back.
The big moment in the game for me was early in the second half. I felt that Odhran MacNiallais was fouled but the free was not given and Naomh Conaill broke and scored the goal. That was a four point turnaround and it put a pep in the step of Naomh Conaill. Gaoth Dobhair had a number of chances to at least get a draw and young Gavin McBride had a chance to tie it up with a late ‘45’.
It was a pressure kick and he is only a young lad and maybe in hindsight one of their more experienced players should have taken on the responsibility. A draw would have been a fair result.
Michael Carroll’s goal was a great score and as good as we have seen in MacCumhaill Park in a long time.
It should be a concern for Martin Regan how easy he got through the Naomh Conaill defence.
It is certainly something that he will need to address before the final otherwise the Kilcar attack will bore holes in the Naomh Conaill rearguard.
On individual performances Odhran MacNiallais and Eamon McGee were brilliant for Gaoth Dobhair, especially in the first half. I thought Odhran tired towards the end.
Anthony Thompson and Leo McLoone were the standout players for Naomh Conaill. I also felt that the Brick, Dermot Molloy, worked hard throughout without being spectacular.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.