TEAM OF THE 2017 DONEGAL SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
1 Eamonn McGinley (Kilcar): The big goalkeeper had a steady season for Kilcar, and his kick-outs were decent throughout the campaign. He conceded two goals in the group stages, but only Christy Keaney from a penalty could find a way past him in the knockout phase.
2) Jason Campbell (Naomh Conaill): Campbell earned his spot in the Naomh Conaill team this season and played in every championship match. He was strong and steady in the full-back line while his crucial interception stopped Gavin McBride from knocking Naomh Conaill out in the semi-final. He also had a decent decider and kept Stephen McBrearty quiet.
3) Neil McGee (Gaoth Dobhair): Gaoth Dobhair’s raised their game in 2017, and Neil McGee was his customary self at the edge of the square, and also provided leadership for their young guns. McGee may now be in his fourth decade, but he is still the best full-back in Donegal by a distance.
4) Pauric Carr (Kilcar): An understated member of the Kilcar team, Pauric Carr rarely has a poor game and he is a vital component of their team. He was tasked with picking up the lively Eoghan McGettigan in the county final and had an excellent outing.
5) Ryan McHugh (Kilcar): An automatic choice. McHugh palmed a goal to the net against Bundoran, and then helped himself to two in the semi-final with St Michael’s. He also had a fine final and when the championship was on the line, kicked a huge point for his team to win the match.
6) Michael Hegarty (Kilcar): Hegarty played in a deeper role than usual this year, but such is his football intelligence, it was no trouble to him. He just kept the game simple as always and kicked a huge point in the final.
7) Eoin Waide (Naomh Conaill): The Naomh Conaill joint-captain had another big season for his team. He scored points against Dungloe and St Eunan’s and when things started to go against Glenties in the semi-final, he helped to get them back on track. While he was on the losing side in the final, he still worked hard and tried to get his team going.
8) Mark McHugh (Kilcar): Mark McHugh produced the goods as Kilcar won their first championship in 24 years. He was cool and steady on the ball as his team marched through to the final, and then saved his best performance for the decider when he was deservedly awarded the man of the match.
9) Ciaran McGinley (Kilcar): Ciaran McGinley has been one of the most consistent players in club football in Donegal for years, and he had another fine season, scoring seven points in Kilcar’s march to the Dr Maguire Cup. He didn’t have a great final as his shooting was off but he was still one of the few players on the field that was able to break the tackle
10) Cian Mulligan (Gaoth Dobhair): Mulligan was a huge part of Gaoth Dobhair’s championship campaign, and he scored super goals against both Glenswilly and St Eunan’s. He also had a fine outing against Ardara when he scored five points from play, and while the semi-final didn’t go his way, he still landed a great point.
11) Hugh McFadden (Killybegs): McFadden almost single-handedly dragged Killybegs into the quarter-final. He landed a late point to secure a draw in their opener with Burt, and then played a starring role as they saw off Termon and Naomh Muire. The Fishermen lost their quarter-final but McFadden scored 11 points in a brilliant display.
12) Conor Harkin (Burt): Burt took the championship by storm this year and Conor Harkin was one of their pivotal players. His ball-winning ability was crucial in the middle of the field, and he scored a fabulous goal in their narrow defeat to St Michael’s.
13) Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar): McBrearty was Kilcar’s captain and led by example throughout the season. He finished the campaign with an impressive tally of 3-22, and while only three of those came in the final, they were all important scores for his team.
14) Eamon McGee: You would have got good odds at the start of the year on Eamon McGee occupying the number 14 shirt in the Team of the Championship, but few could argue with his selection. McGee had an excellent season and really led the Gaoth Dobhair charge. He didn’t always play inside but caused plenty of trouble when he did.
15) Colm McFadden: The former Donegal star scored 1-2 in St Michael’s first group game against Sean MacCumhaill’s and then helped them past Bundoran before scoring 4-2 in their clash with Malin. His inspirational late score helped the Dunfanaghy side edge past Burt and into the last four.