READ THE REID: Mac Niallais is star man as Gaoth Dobhair justify odds

READ THE REID: Mac Niallais is star man as Gaoth Dobhair justify odds

Usually the better team win. Gaoth Dobhair had been firm favourites for the Donegal Senior Football Championship since the outset this season. They lived up to expectations with a solid all-round performance against Glenties in Ballybofey last Sunday.

Though Gaoth Dobhair had many good individual performances on the day, I thought that Odhrán Mac Niallais stood apart. His class showed. I’m probably being a bit selfish since I’m looking at him from a Donegal perspective. If Mac Niallais can bring this type of performance to the county jersey on a consistent basis, then he would undoubtedly push Donegal into a very strong position.

Gaoth Dobhair deserved their victory and the title and I’m sure that Naomh Conaill wouldn’t deny this either. I hope that Gaoth Dobhair now go on to represent Donegal in purposeful fashion and lift the Ulster club crown as well. They certainly have the players and the know-how to do it.

They will travel to Corrigan Park, Belfast on Sunday week to face the Antrim senior football champions, Cargin, who defeated parish rivals Creggan Kickhams by a single point in the county final last Sunday. Gaoth Dobhair surely will have too much for Cargin. Their star players are Tomás McCann and Justin Crozier who play for Antrim and they also have Tony Scullion, who has retired from the Antrim squad.

Gaoth Dobhair’s main threat may come from the winners of the Crossmaglen and Coalisland game. The Armagh and Tyrone champions respectively will face each other on 3rd November, the day before Gaoth Dobhair play. Crossmaglen last won the Armagh championship in 2015 and went on to win the Ulster crown that year also. This was their 44th Armagh title and are now bidding for their 12th Ulster title. This is a spectacular achievement.

Tyrone champions Coalisland stand in their way. They defeated Killyclogher in the county final last Sunday. Coalisland are no slouches. They have won the county title 10 times now, the last coming in 2010.

The other side of the Ulster club senior football draw sees Castlerahan (Cavan) play Coleraine (Derry) and Scotstown (Monaghan) take on Burren (Down) in the semi-finals. The Monaghan champions Scotstown seem to be the strongest team here and I expect them to reach the Ulster final.

The last Donegal club to win the Ulster senior football championship was St. Joseph’s, an amalgamation of Ballyshannon and Bundoran. According to Wikipedia.org, “The club was formed in 1963 from the merger of C.L.G. Aodh Ruadh, based in Ballyshannon, and Réalt Na Mara GAA, based in Bundoran. They won unofficial Ulster Senior Club Football Championships in 1967 and 1968, and won the official tournament in 1975, and are still the only Donegal club to do so. The clubs separated in 1977”.

It’s time that Donegal had another winner. It’s difficult to figure out why Donegal senior club teams are unable to push on from winning the county title to achieving Ulster club success. Since the early 70s we’ve always been there or thereabouts in respect of senior inter-county football. Perhaps Gaoth Dobhair have the key to unlock that door. Let’s hope so.

Computer says “No”. I recently renewed my car and house insurance policies. I also wanted to change my internet provider. We are advised to shop around. And shop around I did. To be honest, one would need to have a full day off work to indulge in this rather unenjoyable process. We are put through a series of hoops and questions from a computer-generated voice machine. I’m old-fashioned and I like to talk to a real person who will greet you with a standardised monologue. We’re not ringing for a chat obviously. More often than not, I have to ask for the person’s name with whom I am speaking because this very small bit of very important detail gets lost in the extraordinary amount of information given out by the person at the other end of the phone including information about data protection act.

This call may also be recorded for “training” purposes. Really? Most of us are now computer literate yet there are many who are not, especially those who are mature in years. The people with whom I eventually communicated with were pleasant and helpful. But it took an eternity to reach them. I’d say “Nice day today” and most times get a terse reply “policy number”. It certainly isn’t the fault of those who work in these companies. It’s progress which makes the experience rigid and impersonal.

I don’t blame people for not wanting to go through this frustrating process. Just sign the form and return it by post. Well that’s if there is still a post office in the vicinity. Do it online then. The basic essentials of running a home such as electricity/gas, phone and insurance are now ‘online’. Rarely will a contact number jump out at you on the screen especially in relation to banking issues. When you do eventually find a contact telephone number and ring it, we are put through a series of options by the computer voice and we have to wait until the very end to get the option of speaking to someone. Well, if you ring my business, you’ll speak to the horse himself.

Keeping the faith!