This could go right to wire – Langan

By Frank Craig

Michael Langan says it will be fascinating to see just how Kilcar try to go about their business against champions St Eunan’s in MacCumhaill Park on Saturday night.

The county star believes the energy and directness of the Towney outfit is something that has the potential to drag the Letterkenny men out of their comfort zone.


The Black and Amber are, Langan explains, a much different proposition in 2022 now that they have once again scaled the SFC mountain.

They have been utterly dominant en route to the last four with a 16-point win over Langan’s St Michael’s secured at the quarter-final stages.

The Creeslough/Dunfanaghy side spent a serious amount of time plotting on negating the influence of Shaun Patton in that tie. But, as Langan explains, those best laid plans came apart at the seams almost immediately.

He says Kilcar have to succeed where they failed if they’re to level the playing field. Then, they need to inject a little chaos into matters and not allow Rory Kavanagh’s men to dictate the pace.

If Kilcar can turn the screw early on, inside the first quarter to 20 minutes, then Langan says we could have a real duel on our hands in Ballybofey.

“I don’t think Kilcar should try to hang with St Eunan’s or stay on their coattails,” he said. “They have a serious panel of players themselves, direct ones with plenty of pace. They are one of the few sides that can maybe attempt to go toe to toe with them.

“But before they can even think about their own approach, they need to look at (Shaun) Patton and the strings he pulls. We had a gameplan but it went out the window right away. He’s one of the best kickers in the country, never mind Donegal. And that gives Eunan’s a serious platform.


“Kilcar might well try to push up. They may feel St Eunan’s possibly don’t have the fielders out around the middle. Ciaran McGinley… he’s as good a midfielder as you’ll find. Jason Campbell is in there now and he has a presence under a high ball as well.

“You don’t want to be giving Eunan’s handy or uncontested ball. If Kilcar are brave, back themselves and push up it might ask some questions of them. But talking abut it and getting a handle on that, stopping Shaun I mean, they are two different things. It’s a serious platform, what he offers.”

Both St Eunan’s and Kilcar have frequently come on St Michael’s SFC radar in recent times so Langan is perhaps as well placed as anyone to gauge how this one might play out.

“Kilcar can hurt you from every single line on the field. Paddy is the main score-getter but they have an abundance of what I’d call good ball players out the field as well. They are all so comfortable in possession and they have serious pace.

“You have Ryan (McHugh) obviously, but then there is Andrew McClean, Eoin McHugh, Stephen McBrearty, Conor Doherty, Ryan McShane, Brian O’Donnell and Mark McHugh. That’s serious talent. So St Eunan’s have much more than just Paddy to concern themselves with. I don’t think we’re going to see both sides going at it with complete abandonment. But there will be moments I think, at both ends, where it will open up.

“And both these teams have the players that can transition and move the ball so quickly from one end to the other. And that’s the difference really at this level. You have to be able to strike the balance. Eunan’s play to a system – and it’s ridged. They wear you down. They are excellent at playing the ball from side to side and they are quite content to wait for the right option.

“And they don’t seem to kick many wides in any of their games. So that comes from a very defined approach. Kilcar are probably the best side in the county at getting numbers back and hitting you on the counter. No one does it better or quicker. How many times do you see them tearing up the field and someone getting on the end of it all, usually Ryan, and palming the squared ball across goal to the back of the net.

“And that might be Kilcar’s best chance at getting a real foothold in this one. If they could get an early goal or, the first goal, it could be what forces Eunan’s to come out of their own set-up. And that’s not somewhere they are used to being – being behind I mean.”

Given that in-depth knowledge of both sides and what they can offer at their most ruthless, just how does Langan see this one going?

“Having experienced St Eunan’s first hand this season, and seeing how they implement their system, they are just so confident in how they go about their business. And a really crucial aspect of this is that they have serious strength in depth. And I don’t believe Kilcar have that.

“If Kilcar aren’t in a good position going into the last quarter, by that I men a point or two up, then Eunan’s will have the better options coming off the bench to force the issue and see it out. If I was going to bet on anyone, I’d say Eunan’s but not by much.”

DATE: Saturday, October 1
TIME: 7.30pm
VENUE: MacCumhaill Park
VERDICT: St Eunan’s

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