Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY – Jarlath Burns, our new leader

I’D like to start this week’s article by congratulating Jarlath Burns on his selection as the next President of our association.

I’d also like to congratulate Jarlath’s family members and his club Silverbridge, because without all of those people none of this would have been possible.

I am excited to see what changes Jarlath will make during his tenure because he has been quite vocal on a number of key issues that definitely need addressed and I think he is the man to do so.

When we speak about what a President should represent, then I think Jarlath ticks all of those boxes.

He has played at the highest level and went on to hold possessions with his club and county committees while also serving on some national boards. For me, he is well-placed and well-educated on all major issues that the GAA face at the particular moment in time. Jarlath has never been afraid to speak his mind and I think that will be refreshing when he takes up office. I really do expect him to shake things up and make changes, some of which may not be popular but will benefit the association as a whole.

I think as an association we have been guilty in the past of being afraid to move with the times and I think that having a President like Jarlath Burns will encourage a shift away from traditional policies or beliefs that may be holding the association back. He has spoken recently about issues like player burnout and player welfare, going as far to state that he believes that county training sessions should be capped so interesting times lie ahead. But, for now, I would just like to congratulate him and wish him all the very best when he takes up office.

On the field of play this weekend, things go up a notch, particularly here in Donegal when we face a must win game against Galway in Letterkenny on Sunday.

The pressure is mounting on Paddy Carr and his young team, but as I spoke about a number of weeks ago, I would like to see Paddy and his team given space and time to develop. Naturally when results go against you the pressure starts to mount. Last week’s performance, and in particular the result, was extremely disappointing but I do feel that this is the weekend to bounce back and given the fact Galway are missing some of their key men, I think Donegal really have to go for the jugular this weekend. Galway have been playing decent football but when you consider that they are missing some of their best players then I think the Donegal squad should be optimistic this weekend. Should they manage a win it will do wonders for her confidence and did their season.

There are a couple of massive clashes on Saturday evening Kerry taking on Armagh and Mayo hosting Tyrone down in Castlebar. Saturday night games under the lights in Castlebar seem to take on a life of their own and I expect this clash will be no different and we could be in for another classic. Mayo seem to have found a system of play that suits them better with Aidan O’Shea (below) playing as a target man with strong runners coming off him. So far it has worked a treat, but Tyrone are masters at sniffing out big target men so I’m interested to see how this will go.

Kerry face Armagh and after last weekend’s display, the Kingdom are under a little bit of pressure to perform and to get two more points this weekend before they get dragged into a relegation battle. David Clifford and Sean O’Shea were introduced last weekend and I’m told Paul Geaney is now back training with the squa. Jack O’Connor’s panel is getting stronger week-on=week so a win here would really set them up nicely.

These games could really go anyway at the weekend given the way things have been going, but I’ll go for a hopeful Donegal win, a draw between Mayo and Tyrone, a home win for Kerry and a win for Roscommon.

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