WITH Donegal’s exit from the All-Ireland race sealed by Dublin on Saturday evening, it’s time for you to choose your Anthony Conaghan Cars Player of the Championship.
Donegal played five Championship games this summer.
After defeating Fermanagh in the Ulster quarter-final, they drew with Monaghan before overcoming the Farney in a replay at Breffni Park, only to lose out to Tyrone in a tense Ulster final.
Picture caption: Donegal line up before the Ulster final against Tyrone. Picture by Geraldine Diver.
In a high-scoring Round 4B qualifier against Cork at Croke Park, Donegal had the edge, but their summer ended on Saturday as Dublin proved too strong for Rory Gallagher’s men.[adrotate group=”52″]
Mark Anthony McGinley
WHEN McGinley played against Fermanagh in the opening round of the Ulster SFC, he was lining out for only the fourth time at senior level for the county.
That afternoon, McGinley saved a penalty from Sean Quigley late in the first half – after Neil McGee had been sent off – and also made a telling save from Ruairi Corrigan.
McGinley could do little about the goals he conceded against Monaghan, Cork or Dublin.
Much was made at times about his kick-outs, but the absence of a target like Neil Gallagher to aim at surely didn’t help a rookie goalkeeper asked to fill shoes as imposing as those of Paul Durcan.
THE tenacious Ardara man hasn’t missed a Championship game since making his debut against Armagh in an ill-fated qualifier at Crossmaglen in 2010.
McGrath has gone from being hooked early on, after Jamie Clarke scored two goals off him, that day by John Joe Doherty to becoming one of the most consistent corner-backs in the game.
McGrath has been immense for Donegal this year and has arguably had his best period in the county jersey.
His performances almost certainly catapult him into at the very least All-Star nomination territory.
WITH several of Donegal’s experienced men stepping aside now, there will be an onus on the rest of the squad to lift it for the new term when it rolls around.
At just 22, Ryan McHugh is an old head on young shoulders and Donegal are fortunate to have a talent like his in their ranks.
Scored three magnificent points against Tyrone in the Ulster final and palmed home a goal against Dublin on Saturday evening.
But the scores only tell a miniscule part of the story of a player who has already been classed as a Rolls Royce.
An All-Star beckons.
ANOTHER of the McHugh clan, Eoin – son of 1992 All-Ireland winner James McHugh – was marked out last year as one to watch.
After an illness curtailed his early-season involvement in 2015, he played against Cork in the League semi-final, but injury kept him sidelined for the Championship.
He made his Championship debut this year against Fermanagh and his performances have been that of a man home on the big stage, with plenty more to come for this exciting player.
The highlight was a wonderful solo point against Cork that belied his relative inexperience.
AGAINST Cork, when the chips were down, McBrearty lit the touchpaper with a stunning performance.
The Kilcar man posted eleven points, seven of them from play, as Donegal reached the quarter-finals.
From all angles, McBrearty was on fire and it was a performance that he’d threatened for so long.
Often, with Michael Murphy stationed out the field, there is huge weight upon McBrearty’s shoulders, but that evening was one where he rose to the occasion in some style and confirming a notion that he possesses the capability to become one of the best in his business.[adrotate group=”52″]
Who was your Anthony Conaghan Cars Player of the Championship
- Ryan McHugh (69%, 298 Votes)
- Paddy McGrath (16%, 70 Votes)
- Eoin McHugh (6%, 24 Votes)
- Patrick McBrearty (6%, 24 Votes)
- Mark Anthony McGinley (3%, 13 Votes)
Total Voters: 429