Donegal and Ulster Junior champions Naomh Colmcille take to the high seas in bid for place in All-Ireland semi-final  

Tom Comack


Tom Comack

Donegal and Ulster Junior champions Naomh Colmcille take to the high seas in bid for place in All-Ireland semi-final  

Naomh Colmcille

Naomh Colmcille, the Donegal junior champions, are entering chartered waters this Saturday when they face British champions, Dunedin Connollys.

The game is at Granton Road, Edinburgh and Naomh Colmcille  are taking to the high seas tomorrow (Thursday) in their bid for a place in the semi-final of All-Ireland Junior championship.

The side managed by Ryan McKinley won their first Ulster Junior Championship last month with a six point (1-9 to 0-6) win over Belnaleck from Fermanagh.

Naomh Colmcille defeated a highly fancied Tattyreagh from Tyrone in the semi-final and Ballymachugh, Cavan, in the quarter-final.   

“I strongly believe these boys are where they are on merit. A lot of people wrote them off from the start,” insisted the man who guided Naomh Colmcille to a first Ulster title, Ryan McKinley.

“I also believe that there are another couple of gears in these lads and it is just a matter of getting it out of them.”

Ulster was something of an unknown territory for the Newtowncunningham based club whose only other appearance at provincial level was back in 2010.

“We took Ulster every game as it came and it was a matter of getting your matchups right and setting your team out as best as you could.

“And you are never going to be too far away if you have all that  right.”

And while there may be a lot of chat and idle gossip about one game away from an All-Ireland Ireland final on the hallowed sod of Croke Park, McKinley will not countenance any such chat this week.  

“Our whole focus this week is to concentrate on training. We will train here tonight (Monday) and again on Wednesday and we are travelling over to Scotland on Thursday and train in Edinburgh during the day on Friday and we have the match on Saturday.”

McKinley, a championship winner with the club the last time they won the Dr McCloskey Cup back in 2010, has been doing his homework on the Scottish champions.

“Dunedin have nine players with intercounty experience, four or five of them from Mayo, two from Kerry, two from Tyrone and a Tipperary man.

“They have all had intercounty experience from underage minor, U-21 and senior. They are going to present us with a massive challenge.

“The reached the semi-final last year before losing to a very strong Rock team from Tyrone. They beat the Leinster champions in the quarter-final.

“We will look after ourselves this week and if we get the match-ups right  and getting the team playing the way we want to we will not be too far away.”

Ciaran Devine (a slight back injury) is Naomh Colmcille’s only concern and they have also a number of lads who have been laid low with the ‘flu since the Ulster final.

But Ryan McKinley is confident he will have everybody, including the experienced  Devine, for Saturday’s date with destiny.

Dunedin Connollys are back-to-back British champions and have built up something of a reputation.

Eanna Newton (son of former Donegal player Des) from Carndonagh is the only Donegal man in a squad that is made up in the main by Mayo, Kerry and Tyrone players.

Dunedin defeated Sean McDermott’s from Birmingham, in the British final at the beginning of last month.

Mayo man Sean Melle scored  1-9 from corner forward in their 1-17 to 1-12 win over Sean McDermott’s.

Verdict: Naomh Colmcille