LUKE Gavigan will find himself in a somewhat peculiar position when he takes to the sideline at O’Donnell Park for the Under 21 semi-final on Saturday.
Gavigan lined out with Ardara for distinction but has been living in the Twin Towns for a long time, and will wear the bainisteoir bib for MacCumhaill’s this weekend.
His opposite number is a MacCumhaill’s clubman in Damian Devaney, who Gavigan tried to coax into his Under 21 management set-up.
However, Devaney will lead the charge for Ardara, and Gavigan will plot the downfall of his good friend and home club.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Gavigan told the Donegal News.
“I would have played most of my football for Ardara, but I suppose where you settle is generally where you get involved in helping out.
“The funny thing is that Damian is involved with Ardara as well this year.
“I only got this job the week before our first game with Killybegs but I had coached this group from Under 8 up to minor.
“Damian actually would have coached the team as well when we went to the Feile (Under 14), and he was the first person I rang when I got the job but he said he had already committed to Ardara.
“We train an Under 7 team with MacCumhaill’s as well so it will definitely be a strange one for everyone this week.”
MacCumhaill’s saw off a decent Killybegs side in their first match, and that saw them paired with Termon in the quarter-finals.
They played out a cracker last week with MacCumhaill’s coming from four down to snatch a dramatic one-point victory.
“It was a big win for us last week.
“Termon would have had ten to twelve players who would be playing senior adult football regularly.
“They were going in off the back of a big win over Gaoth Dobhair so it was a huge challenge for us.
“We had to dig really deep to come through it but thankfully we did.”
For the likes of Gavigan’s son Luke, as well as Chad McSorley, Jack Burke and county star Oisin Gallen, this competition is the last hurrah for their underage football.
They would dearly love to make it through to the final, but Gavigan is expecting a tough game.
“Ardara might not have been in the limelight so to speak but they have plenty of talented players.
“You have Shane Whyte and Matthew Sweeney, so there is plenty of pedigree there.
“You have Daryl Maguire and Paul Walsh. All in all, you would have seven or eight players who have been playing senior football this year.
“We are taking nothing for granted. We know people might be expecting us to win but it’s going to be hard.
“It’s a good opportunity for us but you never know how it’s going to go in championship football. The weather could have a big say, or a black card or a sending off.
“Semi-finals are all about winning. Nobody ever remembers who lost a semi-final.”