By Harry Walsh
LESS than twenty-four hours after Glenswilly booked a final meeting with St Eunan’s in the 2014 Donegal Senior football Championship, Kilcar were winning their first league title since 1987.
The men from Towney beat Gaoth Dobhair 5-19 to 0-10 but you get the feeling that they would swap that piece of silverware for the chance to contest next weekend’s show piece final.
St Eunan’s won the Division One League title last year but to quote their veteran midfielder John Haran “nobody remembered who won the league last year yet they all remember that ‘Eunan’s were knocked out of the Championship at the quarter final stages to Malin”.
Fast forward twelve months and supporters of the Cathedral town club are counting down the days to their meeting with reigning champions Glenswilly in next Sunday’s Donegal SFC final.
Winners of the Dr Maguire Cup in 2011 and 2013, Glenswilly will lock horns with 2012 winner St Eunan’s who also beat the Glen men in the 2007 decider with the silverware also coming to the cathedral town in ’08 and ’09.
With just two points to spare, Glenswilly overcame the challenge of Naomh Conaill in O’Donnell Park yesterday afternoon while St Eunan’s edged past St Michael’s by just a single score in Ballybofey on Saturday night.
The final, the second decider between these clubs, will go ahead at GAA headquarters in Ballybofey on Sunday next, throw-in 4pm.
Gary McDaid’s Glenswilly overcame Naomh Conaill in a tense semi-final yesterday afternoon. The Glen men overcame the late sending off of team captain Caolan Kelly and a black card shown to Ciaran Bonner less than a minute later to win 0-10 to 0-08.
The reigning champions led 0-04 to 0-03 at the end of a low scoring, poor quality first stanza and while things opened up a little after the break it took late scores from substitute Oisin Crawford and full-back Eamon Ward to seal the deal.
“There’s massive belief among this group of players,” said Glenswilly manager Gary McDaid, a teacher in St Eunan’s College where he is also in charge of the school’s MacRory Cup team – back-boned by a number of next weekend’s final opponents.
“There’s a good relationship between the two clubs as there’s a massive crossover. Many of the lads went to school together, some of them work together while a lot of them socialise in the same town. It’s good for Donegal football to have a local derby in the final,” he said.
Glenswilly have now booked their place back in the county final for the third time in four years. They reached the Ulster club decider in 2013 and they’re hungry for more but in St Eunan’s they face the 2012 champions.
The Cathedral town men secured their spot in the final courtesy of a 1-12 to 2-08 win over St Michael’s under the MacCumhaill Park lights on Saturday night.
Again, they had to dig deep to reach the decider in what was probably the best game in this year’s Championship to date.
“Credit to St Michael’s. They didn’t park the bus. They came out to play a game of football and I think it was an enjoyable spectacle for the purists,” St Eunan’s manager Maxi Curran said.
Yesterday afternoon, he was an interested spectator as Glenswilly took on Naomh Conaill in the other semi-final.
“You could watch Glenswilly for the next one hundred days and learn nothing new. They’re a serious outfit and they’re masters at what they do and will take a serious beating. There’s a big local rivalry between the two clubs and it will make for a fascinating final,” he said.
The reserve final pairs St Eunan’s and Dungloe, who beat Gaoth Dobhair and Ardara respectively, a game which throws-in at 2pm next Sunday.
COLL TO REFEREE
Meanwhile, it was confirmed on Thursday night that Gaoth Dobhair’s Martin Coll will referee the game while Paddy McGonagle (Buncrana) will be in charge of the Reserve final.