GLENSWILLY ON SUNDAY won the Michael Murphy Sports & Leisure Donegal SFC for the third time in six seasons.
The team managed by Michael Canning overcame the well-backed Kilcar by a single point, 1-10 to 0-12, and captain Gary McFadden was on hand to lift the Dr Maguire.
Here at Donegal Sport Hub, we’ve compiled the Aura Leisure Centre Team of the Championship and both finalists are well represented.
1 James Gallagher (Glenswilly)
IN his early playing days at his native Cloughaneely, James Gallagher played most of his football out the field. However, he made his name as a goalkeeper in soccer, playing with Finn Harps, St Patrick’s Athletic and Derry City. Gallagher lives in Templedouglas and was an excellent addition for his adopted club, Glenswilly. In six championship games, only Darren O’Leary of MacCumhaill’s managed to get the better of him.
2 Aaron Thompson (Naomh Conaill)
LAST year Aaron Thompson proved to be a match-winner for Naomh Conaill as they defeated St Eunan’s by a single point to win the Dr Maguire for the third time. This year, Thompson impressed in his corner-back berth as a strong marker and also made an impact when he decided to join the attack for his team.
3 Eamon Ward (Glenswilly)
ONCE Eamon Ward takes to the stage to sing “The Hills of Glenswilly” then you know the Foxhall based club have had a good year. The Clontibret native provided a solid base from which Glenswilly grew in strength over the course of the year to belie their moderate league form and go the whole way to lift the Dr Maguire Cup last Sunday.
4 Caolan Ward (St Eunan’s)
St Eunan’s made their exit from the championship when they went down to Naomh Conaill at the quarter-final stage but one man who stood out for the Letterkenny side that afternoon in Ballybofey – and indeed in the group stages that preceded that – was Caolan Ward. A capable defender and comfortable on the ball, Ward’s athletic framework impressed many this year.
5 Ryan McHugh (Kilcar)
CERTAINLY Donegal’s stand-out player at inter-county level in 2016, Ryan McHugh was one of the outstanding players of the club championship as well in the colours of Kilcar. McHugh provides the energy for both club and county with his direct and fearless style. Showed an excellent knack for scoring points from long range, none more so than in the 11-point semi-final win over Naomh Conaill.
6 Mark McHugh (Kilcar)
MARK MCHUGH put in a consistent year for Kilcar in the half-back line and was particularly good at St Eunan’s, St Michael’s, Termon and Naomh Conaill. The 2012 All-Star is enjoying his best year since that memorable All-Ireland triumph working under his father Martin in Towney. The Dr Maguire will have to wait 24 years at least to get back to Kilcar but there was certainly an improvement for the club this term and they’re still top of Division 1 too.
7 Joe Gibbons (Glenswilly)
IT had been said earlier in the season that Joe Gibbons might’ve hung up his playing boots but regardless of those Chinese whispers, he was one of the mainstreams of the Glenswilly success. Having always been fit and able, Gibbons this year developed his abilities to score from long range and he popped up with a number of important scores throughout the campaign.[adrotate group=”84″]
8 Michael Hegarty (Kilcar)
THE wait goes on for Michael Hegarty in a bid to win a first ever senior title. Now 37, the Kilcar midfielder won’t come much closer than he did this year. One of the classiest footballers around, Hegarty provided an edge of experience in a youthful Kilcar side who blazed their way to the final.
9 Neil Gallagher (Glenswilly)
WHEN the dust settles on Glenswilly’s season and they begin to look back through the archives, perhaps the turning point was their 1-10 to 0-10 victory over Dungloe in a must-win second outing in August. That afternoon, Neil Gallagher (pictured above by Geraldine Diver) made his first appearance for the club all season and even though only perhaps half-fit, laid a foundation for his team to move onto championship success.[adrotate group=”83″]
10 Christopher Fildara (Malin)
WHEN Malin came from behind to overcome a six-point first half deficit cause the surprise of the quarter-finals to defeat Dungloe 0-13 to 1-8 it was Christopher Fildara who caught the eye. There’s possibly not a faster player in the county and that pace upset Dunlgoe. Beforehand Malin topped their group and can certainly take heart from reaching the semi-final stage for the second time in their history.
11 Gary McFadden (Glenswilly)
JUST like he was in 2011, Gary McFadden was the skipper who held the Dr Maguire Cup aloft for Glenswilly. McFadden helped glue things together for his team following an awkward start to their championship campaign. His best showing was perhaps in the 2-20 to 1-14 win over MacCumhaill’s in the quarter-final, when he kicked six points from play.
12 Brendan Fildara (Malin)
MALIN might still be in Division 2 of the AllSportStore.com All-County Football League in 2017 but they will be buoyed by an excellent championship campaign, where they got to the last four and shaved the feathers of eventual winners, Glenswilly. Brendan Fildara has been a star turn at Connolly Park in recent seasons and he was Malin’s most consistent player this term.
13 Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar)
With 3-30 in his six games, Patrick McBrearty was top scorer in this year’s Michael Murphy Sports & Leisure Donegal SFC. The Kilcar forward has also been raking up scores all year in the AllSportStore.com All-County Football League too. McBrearty scored five times in the final on Sunday against Glenswilly and but for a difficult late free falling short, Kilcar would’ve scraped a replay.
14 Rory Kavanagh (St Eunan’s)
HAVING made the decision to do a U-turn on his inter-county career and return to the set-up in 2016, St Eunan’s manager David McGinley experimented with Rory Kavanagh at full-forward in the summer. It was a position the 2012 All-Ireland winner took to well and he produced fine showings against Killybegs, St Michael’s and even in defeat against Naomh Conaill.
15 Michael Murphy (Glenswilly)
NOT much you can say about Michael Murphy. On Sunday the Donegal captain scored 1-5 to help his side to a third Donegal SFC and just like in their final victories in 2011 against St Michael’s and in 2013, when Glenswilly overcame Killybegs, Murphy was named as man of the match. Glenswilly feared the worst when their prized full-forward was helped from the field in a Division 1 clash against St Michael’s with a knee injury. However, Murphy’s return within weeks took his team the whole way.Tags: