A YEAR ago this week, Gaoth Dobhair bowed out of the Championship after losing to Malin in Magheragallon in their final group game.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the 14-times Dr Maguire winners.
Conal Sheridan knew well the traditions and the ways of Gaoth Dobhair when he took the reigns last year and that defeat bit hard.
Sheridan has returned for another go this year with Gaoth Dobhair bidding to end a ten-year wait since they last won the Championship.
“We have a hell of a lot of work to do,” says the Omagh native ahead of Saturday’s Group D meeting with Termon at The Burn Road (throw-in 5.30pm).
“The boys are looking forward to getting back into Championship again. It’s been stop-start and we had a disappointing loss in Kilcar in the League on Friday.
“We have to be up for this weekend because if we’re not we’ll have egg on our face again.”
As they make the quick journey to The Burn Road, Gaoth Dobhair will be aware that Termon have had the upper hand in some big Championship contests in recent years.
“There’s no pressure on us,” says the Termon manager, Francie Friel. “Everyone expects Gaoth Dobhair to beat us and rightly so. But we’ve always performed well against them. I don’t think Gaoth Dobhair will be as naïve as the last time we beat them in the Championship, though.”
Since defeating Naomh Conaill in Glenties at the start of July, Termon have lost four League games in a row now and Friel goes into this weekend definitely without Christy Connaghan, Declan O’Donnell and Sean O’Donnell.
Goalkeeper Michael Boyle is ‘touch and go’, as is Ricky Gallagher, who hasn’t played since breaking his collar bone in Termon’s opening Championship game at Naomh Conaill.
“When we played up in Glenties in the League, they had a full team and we beat them, but the annoying thing is we haven’t kicked on,” Friel says.
“We haven’t won since that game, which should have been a springboard.
“”I haven’t been able to play my strongest panel at all this year and I won’t get to do it this weekend either. In Division 2, you might get away with that, but not in Division 1.
We knew that the aim this year would be to stay in Division 1 and it still is, but we want to give the weekend a rattle and Termon are always good for springing a surprise in the Championship.”
Gaoth Dobhair would be regarded as serious contenders for the big pots.[adrotate group=”70″]
Given that their squad contains Neil McGee, Eamon McGee, Odhrán Mac Niallais and Kieran Gillespie, who all played Championship football for Donegal this summer, not to mention the likes of Micheál Carroll, Gavin McBride, Gary McFadden and Cian Mulligan from the 2014 Donegal minors, it’s no surprise that people are waiting for their next big break.
“Tradition and potential only takes you so far,” Sheridan warns.[adrotate group=”46″]
“It’s about applying yourself on the big day and Gaoth Dobhair haven’t managed to do that since they won it last. We have young lads at a learning stage, but we have great experience in there too.
“Championship is what it’s all about. I know what it means here and hopefully we’ll not make the same mistakes as last year.”
Senior Championship Group D
|4||CLG An Tearmainn||1||0||1||0||5||14||0|