BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: We must go out to win all matches in National League

BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: We must go out to win all matches in National League

Brian McEniff

The football season is getting closer thank God with the county team back training on Monday next.
They will have three weeks to prepare for the National Football League and I'm hearing that we will be starting with an away game against Tyrone in Healy Park, Omagh on Saturday May 15.
That is not an easy game but there will be nothing easy in the league or championship. We will be playing week on week with a home game against Armagh and the final game against Monaghan.
The league will be used as preparation for the championship and winning two of the three games should be the target. But then again, why not go and win all three games.
We should have a full squad to pick from and hopefully there will be a few new additions. In the current Donegal squad we have a good panel of up to 23 players but we need to add to that.
I feel Declan needs to use all of his panel during the league and give the younger and newer lads a chance. I also feel that he needs to use his experienced players sparingly in those games to have them right for championship action.
Declan has a number of players coming back from injury and hopefully we will see the likes of Jason McGee and Kieran Gillespie back to their best, while we will also have Stephen McMenamin back in the last line of defence as we missed him in the Ulster final last year.
It may be a different year in some respects with the short run-in to the league but in other ways it will be the same mentality. In our day you went out to win every match and that should not change.
The Ulster championship draw is being made next Tuesday night so Donegal will have an idea of the lie of the land as they plan to begin the league action.
But the bottom line is there will be no easy games in the league or the championship. We used to think of Antrim as being easy but remember it's not that long ago that they came to Ballybofey and beat us.
You only have to go back a few months and that game against Armagh. We won easily but I think they may have outscored us in the second half.
And as for the Cavan game in the Ulster final, we were caught thinking ahead about Dublin.
There are no hard and fast rules. Going back to the 1990s, PJ McGowan took over in 1994 and went all the way to the league final before losing to Derry. And the following Sunday we had Down in the Ulster championship and won well.
Even in 1993 we got on a roll winning games. I know the Ulster final didn't go according to plan but we were hit by injuries and it took its toll. But then the pitch didn't help either in Clones that day.
The one thing we have to avoid against is complacency and after last year's Ulster final that shouldn't be an issue.
As for the championship draw next week, there will be no easy draw. We just have to take what comes up and prepare for each game as it comes.

We are all awaiting the return to action at club level. It all depends on getting the white flag from government, but whatever about the adults I would impress that we need to start with the underage. They are back training in a few weeks and we need to have plans in place to give them games as soon as government approval is given.

I read Tommy Ryan's interview in the Sunday Independent on Sunday last about being dropped for the All-Ireland final and it brought back many memories. It also underlined how difficult it is as a manager to make decisions that have consequences for the players involved. Making that call between Tommy and Manus (Boyle) for the All-Ireland final was one of the biggest I and the selectors had to make.
I always wanted to be non-parochial when making those calls. I had worked with selectors who were picked by the Co Board in the 1970s and I decided when I went back in the 1980s I would pick my own selectors. Sometimes I would have taken stick in Bundoran for not picking local players.
I met Tommy last year when we played Termon down in Termon and he gave great service to Donegal. Indeed, his best football was played in the Ulster championship.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Peter Campbell

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