BY RYAN FERRY
NAOMH Conaill manager Martin Regan says that a ‘huge hunger’ still burns within his players after they defeated Gaoth Dobhair to book their spot in the 2022 Donegal SFC County Final on Sunday.
Regan’s men have now qualified for the decider for six years on the trot, while some of their elder statesmen like Anthony Thompson, Brendan McDyer, Leo McLoone and Marty Boyle are through to the final for the 11th time in their careers.
Naomh Conaill were the fitter side on Sunday and their drive to succeed shows no signs of waning.
“There is huge hunger there. We have a big panel and everyone is needed,” Regan explained.
“We were dealt a big blow today when (John) O’Malley was sick this morning and couldn’t feature for us and Leo (McLoone) pulled up in the warm-up.
“But Marty (Boyle) came in at half-time, and Hughie (Gallagher), Daniel Gildea, Pirate (Stephen Molloy) all helped us when they came on.
“The panel makes a big difference and that’s what’s been driving the thing on in the last few years, and that’s why we have made as many county finals as we have.
“Everyone is driving each other on and we have good competition for places.”
Saturday’s semi-final between St Eunan’s and Kilcar was postponed as a mark of respect following the sad passing of Patrick Devenney and his daughter Margaret Sullivan.
It has been re-fixed for next Saturday (October 1) in MacCumhaill Park at 7.30pm.
There was some speculation that the County Final date would be pushed back by a week but it remains fixed for Sunday October 9.
Regan said: “Someone said in the huddle there that it was staying on the same date, but honestly it wasn’t something I even thought about.
“What went on in Letterkenny this week was horrendous and it was just really, really tragic.
“It puts football into perspective and I think football is the last thing people want to talk about. You’re on about a final but what does it really matter when it is when you see what the Devenney family went through this week.
“Any time you get to a county final is brilliant and we don’t mind when it is.
“We played four games in 13 days in 2019 and it didn’t bother us and we had to wait nine or ten months for the 2020 final.
“It doesn’t matter to us and we’re just happy to be there and be involved in it.”
The Senior ‘B’ semi-final between St Eunan’s and Gaoth Dobhair was also postponed and it is now pencilled in for next Saturday at 6pm.
The Intermediate Championship Final between Naomh Columba and Dungloe will be played on Saturday October 1 at 2.30pm in O’Donnell Park.