BY RYAN FERRY
MALIN not only put an end to St Eunan’s hopes of winning the championship in Buncrana last weekend with their shock victory over the Letterkenny men, but they also brought down the curtain on the influential John Haran’s championship career.
Haran has been a regular fixture in the St Eunan’s team since his debut back in 1995, but the former county player believes that now is the right time to hang up his boots.
“No, that’s it now,” said Haran, when asked if he could be tempted into giving it one more year. “I said at the start of the year that this was my last season, and I’m sticking to it.The mind wants to do things that the legs just can’t do anymore.
“Hopefully we can finish off with the league now. It doesn’t mean as much as the championship, but it would still be nice to go out with a medal,” said the 36 year-old, who won the Donegal senior Championship seven times, and counts the infamous 1997 championship (won on the pitch, lost in the boardroom) as part of his tally.
Malin recorded a nine-point victory against St Eunan’s at the Scarvey, and while few gave them a chance before the match, Haran says Eunan’s were aware of the threat the Inishowen men posed.
“We knew they were a better team than people were predicting. They’re in the top-five of Division 1. We played them twice this year, and there wasn’t too much in it, so we knew it was going to be a tough match.
“It’s hugely disappointing to lose. We had high hopes and we put in a big effort all year. But we have no qualms about the defeat, Malin were the better team.”
St Eunan’s lined out without Ross Wherity, who was unable to make it back from New York, while Conall Dunne was suspended after picking up a straight red card in their last group game against Naomh Conaill.
“The boys were a massive loss for us. They’re our two best forwards, and they’ve been excellent for us this year. We really missed them on Saturday,” said Haran.
Malin will now go on and face Killybegs in the Championship semi-final, and Haran believes that they have a good chance of reaching the final, although he thinks the winter weather will not be to their liking.
“They have a great chance now, but in saying that Killybegs won’t fear them. One noticeable thing about last Saturday was that it was a very good day. They have small, quick forwards and the dry ball suited them.
“But there will be a big change in the weather in the coming weeks, so they’ll have to adapt. I’d still fancy Glenswilly to win the championship,” he said.
Over the course of last weekend, more than 1,500 people in 800 tents, 600 cars and thirty camper vans...
This is John's first trip to the World Championships where he will come up against full-time professionals.