Football is in a good and healthy position in the county. That has to be the conclusion after watching the two county senior semi-finals on Sunday in Ballybofey.
Naomh Conaill won the first with a narrow win over St Eunans and Gaoth Dobhair had too much in the locker for Kilcar in the other.
They were contrasting ties and two very good games of football played under blue skies and in perfect conditions.
The Naomh Conaill and St Eunans game was very open for a championship game while there was more of a championship edge to the Gaoth Dobhair and Kilcar game.
Naomh Conaill’s greater experience and power saw them through but only just.
I was a little surprised Niall O’Donnell did not take the last St Eunans free. He was standing over the ball as if he was up for taking it but then left it to Shaun Patton.
He had kicked seven points, four of them from placed balls and was in the groove. It was a big moment and I know we will never know if he would have scored. But It was a big moment.
But Naomh Conaill were the better team. They have a good mix. I haven’t seen Leo McLoone in as good a shape in a long time and along with Anthony Thompson played a big performance in the win. Ciaran Thompson dominated in the middle of the field and kicked a number of very good scores.
The young lads, Eoghan McGettigan, Jeaic Mac Ceallabhuí, Eunan Doherty and Charles McGuinness all played. Though there was only a point it, I felt Naomh Conaill were the better side and are a better side than they were last year.
When they get time to reflect St Eunans should be happy enough with their season. They are a very young side and are not very far away and if they stick together they have a championship in them.
In Niall O’Donnell, they have a real gem while Conor Parke, Conor Morrison, Darragh Mulgrew and the old warrior himself Eamonn Doherty all had fine games.
Gaoth Dobhair came out on top in the other semi-final and were good value for their five point win.
They really bossed the game from the off and never allowed Kilcar into the game. They really closed down the Kilcar go to men.
Eoin McHugh scored one point, Mark McHugh converted two placed balls and Ryan McHugh and Ciaran McGinley didn’t get on the scoresheet at all.
Patrick McBrearty kicked five points, three from play and he had come deep to score those. Neil McGee really put the shackles on him inside and came out on top in what was seen as one of the key duels.
Odhrán Mac Niallais was a class act and put in another man of the match performance. Dáire Ó Baoill scored a peach of a goal and Kevin Cassidy took his goal well too.
Just one slight worry going forward for Gaoth Dobhair. They only scored eight points.
Finally, this weekend in relation to the Intermediate semi-final replay meeting of Aodh Ruadh and Cloughaneely fixed for Wednesday night, in Convoy.
I think this is wrong and in the interest of fair play to the players managers, coaches and supporters this game should be delayed until Saturday with the final put back a week until the following weekend.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack
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