THE club championship swung into action here last weekend with most games going as we thought they would.
The big four, if you want to call them that, of St Eunan’s, Gaoth Dobhair, Glenties and Kilcar all won with Kilcar struggling a little bit early on but they got the job done in the end.
I don’t think it was ever in any doubt, but a win on the opening day for the big four almost guarantees them their path to the quarter-finals.
The way the championship is structured here, it allows you to slowly build momentum as we have four group games before we get to the quarter-final stages. A lot of the big clubs had key players away over the summer months so this format allows them to bed those players back in slowly before the business end of the season arrives.
We go again this weekend with round two of fixtures and the standout game of the weekend is the clash of St Eunan’s and Glenties with Glenties at home on Sunday. The fixture itself may not mean a lot in terms of qualification as both of these teams will be safe, it will however allow one of these teams to lay down a marker for the season ahead.
Glenties got the better of Rory Kavanagh‘s team in the county final last year and they also beat them a few weeks back in the league decider, so I’m sure the Letterkenny outfit will be keen to reverse the tables this weekend.
Away from the own field action here in Donegal, we had some massive news break during the week with the announcement of Jim McGuinness as the Donegal senior football manager for the next three years.
It’s a massive announcement for the county and I think that if you sit back and look at the overall picture, then Jim is the best fit to take the county forward at this present moment in time.
We were a shambles off the pitch last season with so much in-fighting going on between county board and the academy and what have you so this announcement is a positive one, and it should galvanise the county to try and step forward together as a whole.
Jim announced that Colm McFadden and Neil McGee will be part of his backroom team, and I also believe that these are two very good additions. I don’t think that Jim will lean too heavily on the two lads for any tactical knowledge or that kind of thing but what they will bring is a real drive to the whole set up and they will drive standards through the roof.
The two lads in question are good characters to have around the dressing room. They enjoy a bit of light-hearted fun, but when the time is right to knuckle down then these two lads will always be super focused.
Colm spent last year doing some forward coaching work with the Sligo seniors and he always had a keen interest in coaching, taking his club underage teams and college teams, so he has plenty of knowledge of the game.
Likewise, Neil McGee has been involved with our own club minors here with the club for the past two seasons, so he has dipped his toe into the waters, and this is the next step in that development.
The key thing for Jim is to get everyone who is available to play for the county back on board, and I know that these conversations have already taken place before the announcement was made so it’s clear to see that they intend to hit the ground running.
I said it here last year that on their day and with everyone available Donegal are as good as what’s out there so the next few months will be interesting to see how that team gels together.
One man and probably the first man Jim would’ve spoken to before he took the job was Micheal Murphy so although it may be a no the minute, you can be sure that Jim will at least try and coax the big man out of retirement another six or seven times before Christmas hits – so watch this space!
Whatever happens, we can be sure that interesting times lie ahead for the county on the footballing front!