DONEGAL’S might have bowed out of the race for Sam Maguire on Saturday night – but it’s not all doom and gloom.
- Donegal weren’t far away in 2016
FOR ALL the disappointment with the way it all ended, it should be noted that Donegal were within inches of silverware and might have toppled Dublin on Saturday night with a little more bravery.
Donegal really came through the mill having had to play Fermanagh, Monaghan twice, Tyrone, Cork and Dublin since June.
Kerry, by contrast, are in an All-Ireland semi-final having played Clare twice and Tipperary.
Talk about imbalance.
Donegal were leading Tyrone in added time in the Ulster final only for wonder scores by Sean Cavanagh, Peter Harte and Kieran McGeary to swing the pendulum the Red Hands’ way.
They lost the Ulster final by two points, but really it was a day when Donegal ought to have given their attacking edge a little more rope. It was a similar tale on Saturday night.
Dublin were dominant and the better team, but Ryan McHugh’s goal kept Donegal in check. And with time at a premium, with Dublin down to 13 men, Patrick McBrearty narrowed the deficit to just three points.
Donegal didn’t look like breaking the line in those late moments but at least they didn’t capitulate.
- The future is bright
SHAUN Paul Barrett’s Donegal minors face Galway in two weeks’ time in the All-Ireland MFC semi-final.
The team contains the likes of Niall O’Donnell, Jason McGee, Peadar Mogan, Kieran Gallagher, JD Boyle, Mark Curran and Aidan McLaughlin have shown themselves to be players of real promise.
Already, Rory Gallagher’s senior squad has players awaiting a breakthrough.
Kieran Gillespie’s recent stepping up has been a boost of late, but there are others capable too.
Donegal supporters have yet to see players such as Eoghan Bán Gallagher, Micheál Carroll, Caolan McGonagle Ciaran Thompson Jamie Brennan and Stephen McBrearty for long spells, but their times will come.
Donegal also have to welcome Darach O’Connor – whose 2016 was messed up by a cruciate injury – back into the ranks; a player who played in the Ulster and All-Ireland finals of 2014.[adrotate group=”38″]
- Be thankful for the departing servants
IT’S never nice to see players retiring, but in Colm McFadden Donegal had one of the finest forwards of his generation .
The 25 goals and the 434 points scored by the St Michael’s man made him Donegal’s top scorer of all time. He donned the county jersey a record 170 times and will be fondly be remembered by anyone who saw that bewitching left foot in action.
Like McFadden, Rory Kavanagh seems set to retire, though in his case it will be for a second time having previously departed after the 2014 All-Ireland final loss to Kerry.
Eamon McGee has become the next of the veterans to call it a day.
Others, for instance Karl Lacey, Neil Gallagher, Christy Toye and David Walsh are expected to give consideration to their respective futures.
If any of them do decide that they’ve given what they can, Donegal folk should be thankful that they experienced good times those players gave them.[adrotate group=”46″]
4 Michael Murphy will still be around
PLAYERS often say that they don’t read, listen to or watch coverage about themselves.
In Michael Murphy’s case, he’d be as well to avoid it. But it’s impossible for the Glenswilly man to do and he was reminded about several comments made by analysts last week at a press conference ahead of the Dublin game.
Paul Galvin had claimed that Murphy was in danger of losing his scoring instinct; Darragh Ó Sé compared him to a member of kitchen staff who was ‘making the steaks and washing the dishes’, James Horan and James McCartan have raised questions about the Glenswilly man’s movement.
“Hopefully I’ve another couple of years left yet and that they won’t be writing the obituaries for another wee while,” Murphy said.
There is no doubting that Murphy has appeared inhibited by some sort of ailment this summer, but his influence on the squad will be as important as ever when 2017 comes around.
On his day, Murphy is regarded as one of the best in the country. If he can find that form again next year, Donegal can again dance on the big stages.[adrotate group=”37″]
- Still a September chance for Donegal
AS noted above, Donegal’s minors are still in the hunt for a place at September’s big show.
In two weeks’ time, Donegal face Galway at Croke Park in the All-Ireland MFC semi-final, with a place in what would be only this county’s second-ever minor final up for grabs.
Donegal have already won the Ulster Minor League and Ulster Minor Championship.
After getting over the line against Cork in their quarter-final, the young Donegal men stand just an hour from an All-Ireland final.
Shaun Paul Barrett’s team deserve a big support in their quest for glory.[adrotate group=”53″] Tags: