BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: Donegal Ladies take pride of place this weekend

BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: Donegal Ladies take pride of place this weekend

First of all, I want to wish the Donegal ladies and Maxi Curran, all the best in their Division One League semi-final meeting with Galway on Saturday in Longford.

They’ve had a very good season so far for what is, by and large, a team in transition. Galway beat them well the weekend before last down in Corofin. But from what I gather Galway got a couple of goals just before half-time and Donegal were short a number of key players and were unable to recover.

They also went into the game knowing they had already qualified for the last four and hadn’t as much at stake as Galway. Galway had also qualified for the knockout stages but needed a win to avoid a semi-final meeting with the All-Ireland champions, Dublin.

I believe they will still be without Geraldine McLaughlin for the game which is a huge loss, But from what I can gather they have everybody else back fit and well.

They take pride of place this weekend and I really want to wish them well and the best of good luck.

ALL-COUNTY LEAGUE

We had another round of games in the All-County Football League at the weekend and already familiar trends are beginning to emerge. Kilcar and St Eunan’s are the early front runners in Division One. Gaoth Dobhair and Naomh Conaill have only played a game each.

Killybegs and Glenfin are to the fore in Division Two. Glenfin are last year’s Intermediate champions, they had a good win over Termon.

I see there is a double round of fixtures down for decision this weekend with games on Friday and again on Sunday. I’m a little disappointed with that because I would like to see the games spaced out a little more and the second game on Bank Holiday Monday, instead of Sunday.

I was disappointed to hear Donegal U-16S were beaten by Derry in the Buncrana Cup final.

Finally, this week, I was disappointed to hear on Sunday evening that Odhrán Mac Niallais wasn’t returning to the Donegal squad.

I know the word on the ground for a number of months was that he wasn’t going to return. . But I always held out the hope that with a break he might have a change of heart.

Odhrán cited he no longer had the hunger for the game and he wasn’t enjoying his football which is sad to hear. But we have to accept his decision and still hope maybe with more time out playing with the club he might get his hunger back.

It goes without saying that he is a huge talent and a huge loss to the county. His decision following on from the departure of Mark Anthony McGinley and Martin McElhinney in recent weeks and the confirmation at the weekend that Martin O’Reilly had also quit the squad is a worry.

Those departures have weakened the squad and hope they are not the start of a trend. It is very difficult in the modern game to be manager of big squads of 30 plus players.

And it is easy to understand why footballers make the decision.

Given the commitment the modern game demands it is difficult to sit week in, week out on the subs bench and getting no game time. All players want game time and it is impossible for the manager to play everybody.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack