I’m on a high this week. There are no other words to describe my mood after watching Gaoth Dobhair on Sunday and their win over Crossmaglen.
Gaoth Dobhair were simply outstanding against Crossmaglen and they were no way flattered by their seven point winning margin.
At times they made the mighty Crossmaglen, albeit a new look Crossmaglen, very ordinary as they shifted up through the gears.
Odhrán Mac Niallais was brilliant; his off the ball running and foot passing was pure class.
Dáire Ó Baoill scored three goals, two of them from play and one from the penalty spot and had great first half.
The two goals from play were super finishes and put away really well after long runs.
The penalty was sweetly struck too and gave the ‘keeper no chance.
His cousin Naoise put in an unbelievable shift. The McGees, Eamon and Neil, had fine games with Neil having one of his best games in some time.
And Eamon directed operations both up front and at the back. He is having a fine season.
Cian Mulligan worked hard and was pulled down for the penalty and Odhrán Ferry McFadden had a very good game in the half-back line.
Kevin Cassidy had a good second half and won a lot of good ball after half-time and showed great awareness and coolness for the fourth goal.
These were the standout performers but overall this was a super performance and you would be hard pressed to find a Gaoth Dobhair man that did not play well.
Gaoth Dobhair are a serious side and are the best champions to come out of Donegal since Killybegs in the 1990s and before that Aodh Ruadh, in the mid 1980s.
I have to add I felt Crossmaglen were very naive and left themselves very open at the back. I couldn’t understand why they did not drop a man back to play sweeper.
But that in no way should take away from Gaoth Dobhair, they were simply awesome. It is great for Donegal football.
I hope they don’t lose the run of themselves. Somehow I don’t think that is going to happen; they seem a very focussed group. They are also very disciplined something which would have been difficult to hold against Crossmaglen who were physical and hit hard though, in fairness to Gaoth Dobhair, they weren’t behind the door in the physical stakes.
But Gaoth Dobhair didn’t get dragged into any shenanigans. They, by and large, concentrated on the job in hand, qualification for the final.
They are a serious team and squad. You have the U21s that won the Ulster Club U21 earlier this year, then you have the four experienced county seniors in Odhran MacNiallais, the McGees, Neil and Eamon and Kevin Cassidy.
They are all quality players and they even have a couple of former county minors and U-21s on the bench.
Just one observation they went a couple of lengthy spells, at least one in each half, without scoring.
But overall Mervyn O’Donnell, the manager, and Michael Boyle, the coach, have done a fantastic job and deserve a lot of credit for the way they have them playing.
Finally a huge congratulations to Red Hugh’s on winning the Ulster Junior Championship on Saturday night in Derry. It was a brilliant result and I’m really delighted for Red Hugh’s.
I have an affinity with Red Hugh’s because I’m a trustee of the club’s grounds from my time as county chairman.
They are a very good club and the win is another brilliant result for Donegal football.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.