AS the curtain closes on 2022, we look forward to another year of GAA action as the new season throws in in a few days’ time. Teams all over Ireland will be busy setting goals and targets for the upcoming year buy here is my wish list for 2023.
1) A new resurgent Donegal
As a county we have performed quite well over the last decade or so, but it’s no secret that over the last number of years we have begun to slip away from the top table both in Ulster and nationwide.
My hope this year is that with the new management of Paddy Carr and coaches Aidan O’Rourke and Paddy Bradley that we see a new approach to how we play the game here in Donegal with a swift move away from the slow, methodical build-up play that we have been accustomed to watching over the last number of years.
I’d like to see us adopt a more direct style of play and although we will never move away from the hand-pass game, I’d love to see us mix it up a little more and try and play on the front foot.
I believe that we have some very talented footballers in this county so I am excited to see how they perform playing under a different system.
2) The continued rise of club football
Over the last number of years, the club championships have been an absolute lifesaver in terms of exciting games to watch.
The increase in exposure from different TV channels and also online streaming has meant that we were able see games from all over the country and I think that it has been a breath of fresh air for the GAA.
This year I’d like to see even more club championships games shown on TV. At the minute I think there’s a closer connection between the general public and club compared to county because obviously there is a more personal element to it. Players are also more accessible compared to the robotic structure of county teams at the minute.
We have an unbelievable product on our hands and I think that is only in the last number of years that the GAA has started to market club games properly and long may this continue.
3) An Ulster club All-Ireland winner
My next wish for 2023 is to see recently crowned Ulster champions Glen go all the way in the All-Ireland series, just like Kilcoo did early this year.
This Glen story has been building for quite some time and they are a shining example to any club who wants to set out a template of how to start at the bottom and build a team that can dominate at senior level.
This Glen team has been coming for a number of years, winning titles at all age groups, and now that they have arrived on the biggest stage of all I really hope that they can go the whole distance now and land the All-Ireland title.
They face a stiff task in the semi viable against Maigh Cuilinn who themselves are on the rise, but I just think that there at the right point in their development to meet these challenges head-on and land that All-Ireland Club title.
4) The return of the Dubs
It’s no secret that I enjoyed watching the Dubs in their prime so this year I hope to see them back at their best and if they can do that we are in for one hell of a championship.
The key factor here for me is the return of Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion to the Dublin set up. These two players, for me, are game changers and I think it will help bring back the standards that we had become so accustomed to watching over the last number of years.
If the Dubs can get back to their best then we will have a fantastic championship on our hands. The Dubs, Shane Walsh, Kerry, David Clifford, the Canavans – just a few of the very exciting things that we will get to watch in 2023.
Finally I would like to wish you all a very happy and safe New Year. Bliain úr faoi sheán agus faoi mhaise daoibh go léir.