21 Jan 2022

MAC'S VIEW: Brian McEniff - After my heart-attack scare I'm glad to be back talking football

MAC'S VIEW: Brian McEniff - After my heart-attack scare I'm glad to be back talking football

Donegal's 1992 All-Ireland winning manager Brian McEniff

First of all I want to explain the absence of my column for the last few weeks. I got a bit of a scare prior to Christmas, suffering a heart attack, something I never thought could happen to me.

I have to compliment the ambulance service for their prompt action in getting me to hospital and the hospital staff for the treatment I received. It was a scary time and I have to thank those involved and many of them along with a lot of other well wishers have been on the 'phone since enquiring about my health.

Thankfully I'm on the mend. It was something that knocked the stuffing out of me. I described it at the time as like being hit by a bus. It affects you psychologically as well.

Anyway, it is in the past now and the new football season is almost upon us and it is good to have something else to think about at this time.

With the return of football, my hope is that I will be ready to travel to Markievicz Park in Sligo for our opening National League game against Mayo at the end of January.

I see where the football season began on Monday night in the new Dome at the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Ballyhaunis with Sligo and Leitrim going toe to toe in the FBD Cup. Indeed, all the games in the FBD Cup are taking place at the new state of the art facility.

It is good to see football back and this FBD experiment playing all their games in the new Dome is a great experiment.
I remember putting a dome over the swimming pool in the Great Northern Hotel some 35 years ago. Overnight the outdoor pool became an indoor pool. I had seen this dome advertised on sale in England and I bought it.

I see that Sligo had a good win in the opening game against Leitrim, although Leitrim kept them on their toes for most of the game. There was a good Donegal connection in the Sligo set-up with our own All-Ireland winning goalkeeper Paul Durcan, their goalkeeping coach. I see that former Aodh Ruadh player Sean Taylor is also in their panel while Conor Griffin, son of former St Naul's player, John Gerard Griffin, is also in the Sligo panel.

John Gerard was a damn good player. Young Taylor joined Coolera in Sligo last year and we in Bundoran played them twice during the year and I was talking to him after one of those games.

Donegal's season got underway on Friday night with the visit of Down to MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey for their first game in the Dr McKenna Cup and it was good to get the win.

The McKenna Cup gives players and management a great opportunity. I remember one year I got four senior players from the competition - Michael Boyle, Ryan Bradley, Neil McGee and Neil Gallagher.

I know Covid-19 could well be a problem, but Donegal can get two and hopefully three games from the competition which is great preparation for the start of the National League.

A lot of things have happened since the column was last carried. Congratulations to Donegal senior captain Michael Murphy on his engagement to Annie Keeney over Christmas and congratulations also to All-Ireland winners Leo McLoone and Martin McElhinney on their marriage to Georgina and Natalie.

Good luck to the new Donegal GAA Executive in 2022, elected at the annual Convention in December. I also see that there are a big number of club manager positions advertised in recent weeks. It just goes to show that even managing a club team at present is a huge commitment. Good luck to all clubs in their endeavours.

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