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St Eunan’s elation at trophy haul

By Michael McMullan

THREE days have passed since St Eunan’s brought the Dr Maguire Cup back to Letterkenny, but club Chairman John Haran’s voice is still dancing with delight.

A holder of eight senior medals himself, he is putting something back into the club and landing the treble has the shot them to the top of the tree in Donegal.

“It has been a mad couple of weeks. It changes so quick, but that’s what success does,” Haran said.

The senior ladies won the intermediate title, the hurlers won a first title since 1972 despite being total underdogs and Rory Kavanagh’s senior footballers weren’t fancied to beat three-in-a-row chasing Naomh Conaill.

Haran was playing with the Donegal Masters on the day the hurlers shocked raging hot favourites Setanta to take a first title since 1972.

“I came out of the dressing rooms after it and one of the selectors, who had a son playing, told me they won by a point,” Haran said.

Going into the football decider, they were again underdogs ahead of their 1-11 to 0-4 win over Glenties.

“I was going into the game and chatting to Charlie (Mulgrew) and I thought we were up against it. In a final, if we played well, we’d run them close but I knew we’d have to improve,” he said.

“We blew them out of the water. Glenties were on a high after beating Kilcar and Gaoth Dobhair. That’s two big games and they looked very impressive.”

The St Eunan’s team is a new generation based on their recent minor winning teams and littered with players who have inter-county underage experience.

After taking their ‘eye off the ball’ St Eunan’s have cranked up their underage development again and there is a buzz in the air again. The town was decked in bunting and flags.

“We were in five finals in a row (2005 to 2009) or every other year. The fact there was six years since the last, there was a different feel around the town,” said Haran, who is a school Principal in Letterkenny.

“We are a big town and 90 percent of the people wouldn’t realise St Eunan’s were in a county final, that’s the reality of it.

“For the people who used to play for the club, there is a still a big cohort of them still around. It was great to be in the final and then to win it against all the odds, it was mighty.”

It was the final leg of the treble which saw the ladies win their title before exiting to Derry champions and Ulster finalists Steelstown.

“Our ladies’ team, when they started, maybe won 10 or 12 championships in a row. They got to an All-Ireland Final (1996) against Shelmaliers of Wexford.

“They had fallen away. They were out of the blocks. Then Glenfin, Termon and Moville came through and our ladies dropped off.”

Now they are back and their minors won the Grade A championship this season.

“There are plenty of girls out at the academy on a Sunday morning,” Haran adds.

“There is a good buzz with them too and they are an important part of the club.”

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EU DID IT… St Eunan’s captain Niall O’Donnell lifts the trophy after the Donegal County Senior Club Football Championship Final

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