Future looks bright for Gaoth Dobhair following u-21 success

By Shaun Casey

THINGS are looking bright around Gaoth Dobhair at the minute as the club picked up its second Donegal U-21 Club Championship title in as many seasons last weekend and they are hoping to build on that in the years to come.

Manager Chris McFadden believes keeping the young players involved and blooding them into the senior ranks over the next few years is the main objective now.

“That’s two in a row now and it’s massive for the club,” said McFadden, whose side beat Glenswilly by two points last Saturday.

“Going back to 2016 and ’17, our u-21 team won two in a row as well and then they went on to beat Lavey in the Ulster final.

“The thing is now; we’ve lost 60 per cent or 70 per cent of our 2018 Ulster senior title-winning squad. They’re all gone, it’s all age related, that’s simply what it was, age and a small bit of emigration.

“It’s just getting the lads back in and interested.

“From last year’s winning team, we got four of them into the senior team and from this year’s winning team, you’d hop to get the same in again. That would be eight boys in total, which is a lot.”

There may be a lot of expectation of immediate success at senior level, but McFadden insists the young lads need time to find their feet in the next few seasons.

“Let’s be honest about it, there’s not very many lads at 19, 20, 21 years of age that are playing at a high level of club football,” added McFadden. “It takes them a couple of years until they’re around 23 or 24.

“That’s the plan and a lot of it is just keeping them interested. A lot of boys just fall away, and we find a lot of drop offs and I’m sure it’s the same in every county, you get the drop off so that’s the biggest concern is keeping them there.”

To win the title, Gaoth Dobhair had to do it the hard way, coming from three points down at the interval to score four points in the last few minutes to win by two. While the scoreline might suggest that Gaoth Dobhair stole it, McFadden doesn’t agree.

“If you were to ask me after the game, I’d have had a different opinion, but I watched back the second half,” explained the Gaoth Dobhair boss.

“I will give Glenswilly respect, they beat us in the first half. They had a massive high press, and our boys just couldn’t get out and we couldn’t get going.

“It was 6-3 at half time and Glenswilly were full value for that score, but I watched the second half back and we completely dominated the second half.

“Glenswilly scored three points in the second half, we scored eight and we missed an awful lot of chances as well.”

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