Killybegs embrace underdogs’ tag

KILLYBEGS are embracing the underdogs’ tag as they head into the Donegal Senior Football Championship quarter-final against near neighbours Kilcar.

Manager Antoine O’Hara believes that Kilcar are “one of the top two or three teams in Donegal, if not in Ulster” but hopes that his youthful side will have enough to match them on Saturday afternoon.

“Kilcar and St Eunan’s are probably two of the favourites for the county title in Donegal and we’re fortunate or unfortunate to be drawn against your neighbours, which can be a good thing too because at least you know a bit about them,” said O’Hara.

“You have to take every game as it comes and we feel that we have a good enough panel of players there than we can put it up to them. We can match them, it’s just on the day maybe a wee bit of luck. You might get a rub of the green or a breaking ball that might go your way.

“They’re basically next-door neighbours to us. There’s always been a good rivalry there between the two clubs but a healthy rivalry, there’s no hatred, it’s a good footballing rivalry more so than anything else and whatever happens on the pitch, stays on the pitch.

“This is probably Kilcar’s golden generation since James McHugh and Martin McHugh in the late ‘80s. We have a very young team, we only have five players over the age of 26 on our panel, everyone else is 22 and under.

“We’re quite a young team, we’ve had a lot of players that have come through Division Three, Division Two, Division One.

“They’ve only been to one quarter-final, this group of players, so it’s a big step up for them.

“The McHughs and the McBreartys, they’re stand-out names but we have a couple of fairly decent players that nobody really knows a lot about and they’re starting to hit top form at the minute for us. We have a lot of positives to take from that.”

Killybegs have shown glimpses of their potential throughout the group stages of the Donegal Championship and O’Hara points to their round three game against Milford as an example of what they can do when they throw the shackles off.

“We played Milford there two weeks ago and we went in as raging favourites and at half time it was four points apiece and we didn’t settle into the game at all.

“We went into half time, and we regrouped, and we told the players there’s no pressure here on us, we have to get on with our game.

“We came out in the second half then and we ended up winning the game 1-13 to 0-7. The favourites’ tag doesn’t suit us, so it suits us to be going in this weekend as underdogs and rightly. I suppose because Kilcar are one of the top two or three teams in Donegal if not in Ulster when they have things going their way.”

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