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GAA Predictions for 2020

Bernard McGeehan (Former Sean MacCumhaill’s manager)


Hopes for 2020:

First and foremost as a MacCumhaill’s man, I hope the club can get back up to Division 1. I felt we were unlucky up there last year and we lost a couple of tight games by a point or two. We were more than competitive in Division 1 and I hope we can get back up to where we belong. I have another hope going forward, and while it might not be achieved in 2020, I’d like to see the wheels set in motion with it, and that is a league restructure in Donegal. I’d like to see three divisions of 15 teams with 14 games. I think that would relax the calendar a bit because it is under serious pressure at the moment. What happened with Naomh Conaill last year when they had to play on the Sunday after winning the county title on the Wednesday was nothing short of a disgrace. Fourteen league games would free up a few more weekends which would mean lads could plan things outside of football. You could also squeeze in a championship game or two before Donegal go out, which might provide a bit of breathing space at the end of the year and ease the pressure on players.

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All-Ireland Champions:
Kerry

Ulster Champions:
Donegal

Donegal Senior Champions:
St Eunan’s

Donegal Intermediate Champions: Aodh Ruadh

Donegal Junior Champions:
St Mary’s Convoy.

One to Watch: Aaron Gillooley (MacCumhaill’s)
I worked with Aaron last year and he broke into the senior team when he was doing his Leaving Cert. He was a tight man-marker for us, and if he wasn’t sick for our last championship game, then we might have had a chance of getting through. Aaron was with the county Under 20s last year, and he is in it again this year, and he is a super marker. But there’s more to his game than just that as he is good on the ball and has a great brain as well. I’d also give a mention to Paddy Dolan from Convoy, who I have watched for a few years now. He is very talented and could step up his game this year.

Barry Meehan


Barry Meehan (Former St Eunan’s and St Naul’s manager)

Hopes for 2020: I would like to see more collaboration between county managers and club managers regarding player development. I feel we have made great strides forward with our fixtures and the CCC should be commended for that. I think clubs are starting to realise that if they want regular games then they might have to play without their county men occasionally. Players are ambitious and that means that they want to be playing for the county and clubs should support that, and be there for them if things don’t work out as planned, as it doesn’t for everyone. The big thing, and this is for county managers from senior right down to minor, Under 16, Under 15, and Under 14, is that if a player is on the fringes and isn’t playing regularly with the county, then he needs to be playing with his club because he won’t develop sitting on a bench. I’d like to see county managers sit down with club managers and come up with a shared vision and a blueprint for developing young players. The other thing I’d like to see is for some of the clubs with three teams like St Eunan’s, Naomh Conaill, and Glenfin or the stronger reserve sides like Gaoth Dobhair and Kilcar to enter Division 4. The League and Championship are separate entities and I think this would help player development because if we’re honest about it, there isn’t much development of reserve players there at the moment.

All-Ireland Champions: Kerry

Ulster Champions:
Donegal

Donegal Senior Champions:
St Eunan’s

Donegal Intermediate Champions:
Cloughaneely

Donegal Junior Champions:
Downings

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One to watch: Peadar Mogan (St Naul’s)

Peadar has played a good bit in the half-back line in recent years, but he has to pick up ball too deep there. I saw enough of him when I was with St Naul’s to see what he can do as a forward and he could make a real impact in the forward line with Donegal. I think the first time he scored a championship goal was against Aodh Ruadh last year, and he scored goals in four of our next six matches after that. He can play inside in the full-forward line and win his own ball or he can roam out from the corner, and I think he would improve from playing with the likes of Michael Murphy, Ciaran Thompson and Paddy McBrearty.

Danny O’Donnell.


Danny O’Donnell (Former Naomh Muire and Milford manager)


Hopes for 2020:
My first hope is that the club game in Donegal will continue to thrive in 2020. I think it is in a very good place at the moment. Not everything is perfect in terms of player availability and so on but we are definitely in a much better position than a lot of counties. The one thing I would say is that there is a very clear top four there at the moment in Donegal club football, and I’d really like to see a couple of teams step up and raise the bar and make it a top five or top six. I also would like to see a Donegal club break through the glass ceiling in 2020 and win an All-Ireland Club title. I think Gaoth Dobhair, Naomh Conaill and Kilcar have shown over the last three years that our championship winners are as good as anything out there, and I don’t think we’re a million miles away from seeing a team reach Croke Park whether that be senior, intermediate, or junior, and if you get that far there’s no reason why a team can’t come away with the trophy. From a county perspective, I think Donegal are genuine All-Ireland contenders, but they have to get over this Super 8s hurdle. To be fair to Declan Bonner, he is building a team for Croke Park, and I don’t think they would fear Kerry or Dublin if they met them, but they have to kick on and reach the semi-finals.


All-Ireland Champions:
Kerry

Ulster Champions:
Donegal

Donegal Senior Champions:
Kilcar

Donegal Intermediate Champions:
Cloughaneely

Donegal Junior Champions:
St Mary’s Convoy

One to Watch: Conor O’Donnell (Carndonagh)

I know Conor is coming back from a bad cruciate injury, but if he can recover fully, he has a huge amount to offer. He was in school in Carndonagh where I teach, and I think he has great potential because he has the right attitude and temperament, and pace. He was up training with the Donegal senior team before his injury, and I’m sure he’ll be well looked after considering he was under the Donegal flagship. I think with the way Donegal play, he would be ideal for a half-forward role, getting on the ball deep and bringing it up the field. He mightn’t be back until the tail end of 2020, but he definitely has a bright future.

Ryan McKinley

Ryan McKinley (Former Naomh Colmcille and Glenswilly manager)

Hopes for 2020: I would hope that the GAA will take a strong look at these new rules that have been brought in and see if they are really helping the game. I thought Gaelic Football was perfectly ok the way it was, but they keep chopping and changing at it when it wasn’t needed in my opinion. It just seems to be getting more and more like Australian Rules. I’ve been at a couple of games where the attacking mark has been in, and defenders are at a big disadvantage because they don’t know if a forward is going to stop or continue playing. The biggest problem will probably be the sin-bin and how it is monitored at club level. I think referees have it tough enough as it is without having to keep tabs on if a player has served the full ten minutes of their sin bin.


All-Ireland Champions:
Dublin

Ulster Champions:
Donegal

Donegal Senior Champions:
Gaoth Dobhair

Donegal Intermediate Champions:
Naomh Colmcille

Donegal Junior Champions:
Downings

One to Watch: Shane Monaghan (Naomh Colmcille)

I’ll go for Shane Monaghan who is playing very well for St Eunan’s College in the MacRory Cup. He is a nephew of Brendan Devenney and he is a very similar player as he is quick and strong. He is a good free-taker and every single day he is down at the pitch in Newtown working on his shooting. He’s only 17 so he is still very young but he could be a big player for Naomh Colmcille this year.

The fund-raiser in aid of Inbhear na Mara Residential Unit, Bundoran, was launched this week by well-known St Nauls...

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