Johnny McGroddy said that Downings’ promotion to Division 1 of the All-County Football League can only further bring a spring to the step of those involved.
McGroddy’s side won their last regulation match at Buncrana, on a 1-15 to 2-7 scoreline to seal their passage to the top flight, 31 years after they last played at that bracket.
Having progressed to the final of the Ulster CLub JFC where they lost 3-8 to 0-9 against Denn from Cavan, which was played on December 19 last, there was a quick turnaround for the side managed by Kevin ‘Cookie’ Gallagher.
But they used that to their advantage and although they were beaten in two of their first three outings this season - against Malin 1-12 to 0-6 and then in the derby at Gaeil Fhánada on a 2-8 to 0-12 scoreline - a run since that garnered 19 points from a possible 20 means they, like their ladies, have Division 1 football for 2023. There’s also a Division 2 final this coming weekend against Malin to come.
“It means a lot,” McGroddy said on Saturday. “It was a tough season after losing the Ulster club final last year but we got straight back into the S&C. We lost the first game in Malin and then were beaten in Fanad but that day we came out all guns blazing and it was probably the turning point.
“Our ladies got promoted too and they’re in Division 1 so we’re in a good place. Last winter we worked seriously had, there were boys from Sligo on a Thursday night. That's the dedication you’re expected to do and there’s so much commitment. It’s great for the young boys and now they want to come down at training. Even for the oul fellas who played for Downings, you can see what it means to them.”
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