BY CHRIS MCNULTY AT O’DONNELL PARK
MAXI Curran, the St Eunan’s manager, was greatly encouraged by his side’s two-point win over Glenswilly on Sunday.
With the likes of Rory Kavanagh, John Haran and Kieran Sharkey stationed at various points along the wire, unavailable through injury, and with the minors not starting ahead of the beginning of their own championship on Monday night, Curran’s side had a couple of notable bright points.
Kevin Rafferty hasn’t played since the early days of the campaign, but he was back in the thick of it against Glenswilly, while David O’Herlihy’s wait for a return has been somewhat longer, with the popular estimate putting it at eleven years his wait for a return to the St Eunan’s seniors.
On top of that, the Cathedral town side had a wondrous display from Conall Dunne, who was at the hub of their machine.
Dunne scored two points, the second of them a fine curler from the left-hand side to put his side ahead late in the day, and went through a mountain of work. The former Donegal player made Eunan’s tick.
“Conall’s fabulous,” Curran said.
“His energy and willingness to play and train is something else. He plays the game with a smile on his face. With the two feet he can do damage and he’s so brave. He’s so hungry.
“The enthusiasm that he has for the game at this stage of his career is really refreshing. A lot of the younger lads feed off that. He’s a shining light and is a crucial player.”
Rafferty and O’Herlihy showed here that they’ll be options, too, when the business of the Championship rolls up in August.
Curran said: “Bringing those boys in was a big lift for us and it’s keeping the numbers high in the squad. We’re very happy with where we are.
“It’s a huge lift to have Raff’ back. He has great composure on the ball and has so much experience. It’s the same with David O’Herlihy. He’s been back training well, he plays the game with intelligence and he’s a good man to have around.
“You have to try and breed as many players as you can for the Championship. I’m just beginning to learn who I have as well.
“St Eunan’s have had a lot of county players over the years who come with big reputations and maybe other players have suffered as a result of not getting a chance, so we’re trying to look at as many as we can.”
Rory Kavanagh is close to a return, while John Haran will be another three weeks out with a collarbone injury and Kieran Sharkey’s timeframe is uncertain as he continues to be troubled by a knee injury.
There was a worrying sight after the game with Darragh Mulgrew heading away for a scan on a heavily-strapped knee after a knock on it forced him out of action late in the first half.
For St Eunan’s it was a timely win after a little slump in form.
Curran said: It was a very interesting and tactical battle. Both teams were set up defensively and they had fifteen behind the ball in stages. We struggled to break that down
“It was good for us to get a victory having lost the last two.
“We made decisions in terms of how we were going to phase the season. We’re getting closer to the Championship so we’ve upped the ante a small bit. Boys have responded and it’s nice to get the two points.”