DONEGAL U-20S v DERRY: Preparation key for Gary McDaid

DONEGAL U-20S v DERRY: Preparation key for Gary McDaid
Gerry McLaughlin @dgldemocrat

Meticulous Donegal U-20 team manager Gary McDaid certainly lives the old Roy Keane adage of: “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”.

It is widely acknowledged that the current U-20 side looked to be one of the best drilled Donegal teams in many years as they simply crucified Cavan.

Nothing is left to chance in McDaid’s world and he admits that he can maybe be a bit too obsessive at times.

All boxes must be ticked and he paid tribute to his extensive backroom team after Sunday’s victory.

When it is suggested to the that near enough was never good enough for him, he said:

“I am properly over obsessive which can be a strength and a downfall.

“You maybe think too much about football all the time and maybe it can be a downfall in other things in your life and other things suffer.

“But you need to be totally focused going forward. And please God in the next six days we need to be really obsessive in a positive way and put our best foot forward facing a very formidable Derry side”.

And while Cavan were badly outgunned, last year’s beaten All-Ireland minor finalists Derry will be a much tougher proposition as the sides collide in Omagh at 11.45 am in Omagh on Sunday.

This is a very physically imposing Donegal side and McDaid pays tribute to the work of strength and conditioning coach Liam Paul Ferry.

“He has done a lot of work with the boys and has them in great shape and they have been working hard on programmes with him both collectively and individually.

“Physically we are very imposing, our conditioning is good and we were able to get up and down the field fairly quickly.

“I am very happy with that and a lot of things that we worked on in training came off”.

But he acknowledges that Derry will be a major test.

“I saw them at the All-Ireland final last year along with David O’Herlihy from St Eunan’s and we were behind the goal.

“We had a decent view of Callum Brown and he is an immense player for Derry.

“I also know him from colleges football; he got a colleges All-Star at U-16.

“The two McWilliams twins from Ballinascreen are also two All-Stars as well.

“They are two brothers of Derry senior Carlus McWilliams so there is quite a bit of pedigree there.

“So we are probably coming up against the second best U-19 team in Ireland.

“And two years ago there was only a kick of ball between them and Donegal in the Ulster final so we know exactly what we are up against.

“They probably have a stronger base of players than us”.

And there is a lot of rivalry between the two counties from Colleges football as the likes of Niall O’Donnell and other St Eunan’s stars would know well.

“They have threats all over the pitch and we won’t be focusing on any one individual player”.

Gary’s men have very little injuries from the Cavan match and that is good news for Donegal.

And it is even better news that those who are in charge of Donegal are determined that these young men will be the very best that they can be as the considerable challenge of Derry looms.