SEEING HE HAD a 100 per cent record as a player in senior county finals, wouldn’t Michael Molloy love the chance to carry on that statistic as a manager.
Molloy was a Dr Maguire Cup winner as wing-forward with Kilcar in 1985, 1989 and then in 1993. Little did he and his teammates know following the last of those victories, against Killybegs, that 22 years later they would still be knocking at the door.
That year, 1993, wasn’t only Kilcar’s last win in the competition but it was in fact their last final appearance. Now, with the contemporaries, Molloy is looking to bridge that generation gap.
“It’s not about me,” he laughs when it’s suggested his record in finals might stand him in good stead if – and only if – Kilcar can get the better of Naomh Conaill tomorrow afternoon at MacCumhaill Park.
“It never would’ve crossed our mind that day in 1993 that it would take so long,” he continues. “It’s been too long and not many of our current panel would even remember it and some others wouldn’t even have been born.
“In recent years we’ve not been a million miles away but it’s been a case of not getting over that final step.
“Last year we had one bad day against St Michael’s and our championship fell on that so this year the aim is to avoid that bad day and see where it takes us.”
From that current panel, Molloy has had to mix and match all season with a succession of injuries. But now, just before their biggest game of the season, Kilcar look to have a full panel available to choose from.
After their first round exit last year with Molloy assisting current Donegal manager Rory Gallagher, Kilcar have had a rather more uncomplicated path this time around.
They won Group 4 with six points from their three outings, starting with a 2-13 to 0-8 win over Naomh Muire in Towney before a 1-14 to 2-4 victory against Killybegs. The group fixtures were rounded off then with a 3-12 to 1-8 win over Termon.
Then, in the quarter-final, Kilcar blew Four Masters away on a 3-13 to 0-8 scoreline in Fintra and find themselves back in the last four.
With Patrick McBrearty and his brother Stephen; Ryan, Mark and Eoin McHugh, Conor Doherty and Michael Hegarty, Kilcar have the capabilities to put up a score. Ciaran McGinley (pictured above) is also back to full speed.
But their clashes with Naomh Conaill in the All-County Football League Division One this season have been tight. In April Kilcar left Davy Brennan Memorial Park in Glenties with a one-point win, 2-5 to 1-10, but lost by the same margin, 1-13 to 1-12, three weeks ago at home.
“Sparring,” is how Molloy describes the most recent of those meetings, although is wary of the threat possessed by the team under the management of Martin Regan.
“Naomh Conaill are a very good side with good championship pedigree in recent seasons,” Molloy adds. “There’s nothing between the teams really. In knock-out championship football you have to be at your best to have a chance and that’s what we want.
“It doesn’t always work out, but this year you’ve probably the best four teams left. We’ll not worry about St Eunan’s or St Michael’s as we have to focus on our own game.
“We’ve had a few injuries all year but that in turn has given other players the chance to play a little bit more. We’ve a ‘good’ problem now in terms of selection with a fully fit panel for the first time this season. Winning a place in the county final would be great for the area and the parish here. It would create a great buzz. It’s been far too long.”