The secret to Cockhill Youths' giant-slaying success

Work rate and hunger propelled young guns to Glengad scalp

The secret to Cockhill Youths' giant-slaying success

PROUD: Cockhill Youths boss Dermot O'Donnell.

Until last Sunday, Glengad United hadn't been beaten in an Inishowen League premier division match at home since 2016, when Clonmany Shamrocks beat them 1-0.

All records are broken eventually, but few would have guessed it would be a young band of mostly teenage players that would do it.

Cockhill Youths only just came up to the premier division this season after winning the promotion/relegation playoff against Clonmany last year, and though they still have their work cut out to stay up (they've won four and lost five), they have nevertheless impressed with the style of football they've been playing.

They certainly impressed Glengad boss Shane Byrne, who graciously admitted after his side's shock 2-0 defeat to the youngsters on Sunday that the better team won.

And Cockhill manager Dermot O'Donnell also heaped praise on his squad, whose exploits were all the more impressive given the fact they travelled to the the Crua with a skeleton crew.

He told Donegal Live: "Because of a mixture of injuries and players being away at college, we only had the bare 11 and two subs - and one of those, Adam McLaughlin, only got there at half time.

"Our regular keeper Liam McGonagle was unavailable so Michael Owen Doherty stepped into nets. I said to the boys before the match 'our backs are against the wall here, so all we can do is sit in and battle as best we can'.

"But what was so pleasing for me is that not only did we win, but we played some really decent football throughout. 

"I honestly wouldn't want to single out any player because the whole 13 put in such a great shift. The work rate and commitment of the entire team was immense.

"I would, however, like to wish the very best to Ryan Doherty and Bobby Bradley.

"That was their last match for us as they are heading up to the Derry City U17s now. They will be missed, but as a club this is what you want for your players and we wish them every success."

And while youth may be the defining characteristic of this squad, O'Donnell said the addition of veteran striker Oisin O'Flaherty has been a massive plus.

"Oisin has been brilliant since coming in," he said. "He might be a wee bit older than most of the players around him, but his fitness levels are unreal and he runs off his feet.

"Once I said my bit to the players before kick off, Oisin stepped in and said a few words as well, and having someone with that leadership and experience is invaluable.

"We were celebrating as if we'd won a cup final on Sunday, but we still have a way to go yet if we are going to stay up.

"But knowing we can play the way we did against Glengad has really given us a boost heading into what is sure to be a tough second half of the season."

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