NAOMH COLMCILLE AND GLENFIN both showed commendable character in their semi-finals wins last Saturday and it is they who will joust this evening at Pairc Naomh Mhuire in Convoy, where the prize for the victor will be the Donegal Under-21 ‘B’ title (throw-in 7.15).
Naomh Colmcille were dead and buried when they trailed by eight points against Killybegs, but they had the wherewithal to shake the sleep from their heads and summons a response.
They needed extra-time, but they ended the afternoon with five goals and 11 points to their name on what was a fine demonstration of their talents.
Ryan McKinley, their manager, was somewhat vexed that the day became more of an ordeal than it ought to have once they did get a grip on things, but the manner of their win will surely stand to a side that contained many of those with the burden of an Intermediate final hammering still on their shoulders.
Gary McDaid, John Fullerton, Michael Friel, Michael Lynch, Oran Hilley, Daniel Clarke and Willie Gillespie all started in the 4-17 to 0-4 defeat to Bundoran in October. Conor Grant, Stephen Gallagher and David McNamee came on as substitutes on that long, agonising afternoon at O’Donnell Park.
Picture caption: Ryan McKinley, Daniel Clarke and Michael Lynch in action for Naomh Colmcille against Bundoran in the Intermediate final. McKinley is manager and Clarke and Lynch are players on their under-21 team who
The experience of the run to that final – and even, in a perverse sort of way, the manner of that defeat – is bound to count for something as they take to the field this evening.
“A lot of them boys are still suffering and they know what they have to do,” McKinley said.
McKinley knows Glenfin well. He was a coach to their senior team in 2013 when Francie Martin was manager at Pairc Tabhoige. Glenfin native Martin is now in the Naomh Colmcille dugout alongside McKinley.
Underage success for both of these clubs has been fleeting, at best.
Glenfin won the Under-21 ‘A’ title in 2002 and Christopher Morrow, now the manager, was part of a side that lost to St Eunan’s in 2003 in the final.
A Minor ‘B’ title in 2001, an Under-16 ‘A’ title in 1982, an Under-16 Division 2 crown in 2012, the Under-13 Division 2 in 2010, the Under-12 ‘A’ Championship in 1978 when they overcame the famous Rosses Rovers side, and Under-12 Championships in 1990, 1993 and 1998 have dotted the history of Glenfin.
Now, following last Saturday’s heart-stopping win over Gaeil Fhánada, they’re back in a final as Ethan O’Donnell’s last-gasp goal turned the tide right at the death.
The likes of Andrew Walsh, Ronan Gallagher, Martin O’Donnell, Jason Morrow, Stephen Ward and Stephen Carr have all become regular features of the Glenfin senior side and Morrow’s team is one where the sum of its parts means that it is a well-balanced outfit that has become hard to beat.
The same, though, is true of a Naomh Colmcille side that came from four points down against Urris in the quarter-final.
Neither club has been drowned in underage glory over the years.
Naomh Colmcille can point to the likes of an Under-16 Division 3 title in 2004, an Under-14 Division 3 crown in 2013 and Under-12 Championships in 1995 (Division 4), 1996 and 2003 (both Division 3).Tags: