Gaoth Dobhair eye title number eight

By Michael McMullan

GAOTH Dobhair u-21s have a chance to back up last season’s championship success when they face Glenswilly in Saturday’s decider (O’Donnell Park, 2.30pm).

Cathal Mac Giolla Easpaig’s late free was enough to see off Termon, after extra time, as Gaoth Dobhair landed their seventh u-21 title back in January.

It’s Glenswilly’s first appearance in the u-21 A final since 2004 and the game will bring the curtain down on the domestic season.

“The buzz is good, we won it last year so going for two in a row is a big enough thing for the club,” said Gaoth Dobhair manager Chris McFadden, who played on the club’s Ulster senior winning team of 2018.

McFadden is one of many players from that historic Sunday who had moved on by the end of 2020 when it was time to rebuild.

“I played for Gaoth Dobhair seniors in 2018, ’19 and ’20 when we were going well. I am retired now and I am trying to drive these other boys on,” said McFadden.

“There were nine starters from that 2018 Ulster winning team gone, that’s a lot of players.”

Gaoth Dobhair’s current senior team reached the senior final with a core of the last back-to-back u-21 winning team of 2016 and ’17 who also beat Lavey to win the Ulster title in Creggan.

McFadden has to plan without six of last year’s winning u-21 team, including four starters.

“We lost a midfielder and three scoring forwards and scoring forwards are hard to come by,” said McFadden who has dipped into the minor group to bolster his squad.

Gaoth Dobhair do have a portion of senior experience in their ranks. Goalkeeper Daithi Roberts has recently been called up by new Donegal senior boss Jim McGuinness.

Defender Aiden Breatnach, midfielders Domhnall Mac Giolla Bhride – who has Donegal experience from last season – Stephen McFadden, Fionnan Coyle, Cian McEntee and Cathal De Burca also featured in this year’s senior final defeat to Naomh Conaill.

Gaoth Dobhair topped their group with three wins, including victory over this weekend’s opponents Glenswilly to take them into a semi-final. McEntee bagged 2-2 in a 4-16 to 2-9 victory.

Five points from Daithi Gildea and goals from Donal Gallagher and Mikey Toner helped Glenswilly to a semi-final win over last year’s beaten finalists Termon.

“We had played them in the group, down at home, and they are a fairly good team.

“We won by two or three points,” said McFadden of Gaoth Dobhair’s opponents this weekend.

“Nothing fazes them,” he said of his own team. “They are well prepped and I hope Saturday goes well for them.”

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