By Michael McMullan
IT’S been a long haul for the Four Masters minor team but manager Damien Dunnion wants their bandwagon to keep on rolling.
Two goals from Seanan Carr – including a breath-taking solo effort – helped the Donegal champions to a 5-5 to 2-10 win over Irvinestown in last weekend’s Ulster preliminary round in Belfast.
It sets up a return on Saturday with a quarter-final against Lurgan’s Clan na nGael.
“It was a good win,” said Dunnion of Saturday’s game. “When you are going into the unknown, you don’t know what to expect. We played quite well in spells and it’s nice to get another day out.”
It was their first game in five weeks since seeing off Glenswilly in the Donegal county final on Bank Holiday Monday.
Dunnion heads up an extensive management team that has chairman Pauric Harvey and Declan Bushell as coaches.
All-Ireland winner Joyce McMullin, former county player Shane Carr, Emmett Gallagher, Hugh McNamee and Mick Kilcoyne are also there, with physio Shane Cannon competing the team.
After starting training on February 23, it has been a long season that also included a regional league to be played without county minors.
The championship began with a league format before leading into the play-offs with Four Masters coming through.
It’s a group that won every competition going including Division Two of the All-Ireland Féile, beating a Claremorris team in the final that overcame another of this weekend’s teams, Tyrone champions Donaghmore, in the semi-final.
Despite their dominance, there was a sense of frustration at only having Seanan Carr involved with the county minors, with captain Caolan Sweeney not making the final cut.
“The way it worked out, it was a great motivating factor that Seanan was the only boy that made it,” Dunnion said. “Caolan Sweeney dropped at the late stage and he drove the boys on then.”
Callum McCrea, Terence McGovern Conor McCahill and Lewis McCaughan are part of next season’s county minor panel.
Dunnion is not plotting the downfall of a Clan na nGael team that has impressed him from running his eye over their county final on Armagh GAA TV to ensure they have an idea of what is coming down the tracks.
“I would never go anywhere without having some sort of information,” he said. “They played back in September, all counties do it differently. Irvinestown only played their county final recently, so we were able to pick out some of their star players.
“Clan na nGael beat Crossmaglen in their county final and I watched that during the week, they are a big and powerfully strong team with plenty of good players.”
The winners will play whoever comes through from Scotstown and Donaghmore in Saturday’s evening game.