By Ryan Ferry
AJ GALLAGHER hailed Naomh Conaill’s backroom team after they got their hands on the Dr Maguire Cup once again.
It was a fantastic display from Naomh Conaill and they played some brilliant football over the course of the hour as they defeated Gaoth Dobhair 1-16 to 1-8.
They have received plenty of criticism for their tactics down through the years, but they have shown that they are comfortable both in a dogfight or in a match where players have more freedom.
The Naomh Conaill side is one of the best prepared outfits in the club game, and Gallagher always has confidence in the game plan that is set out for them by Martin Regan and his backroom team.
“The boys behind the scenes are doing massive work.
“They are doing statistics on our own team and other teams that we will be playing.
“They come up with the game-plan and we try and follow it to the letter of the law.
“It’s not always perfect and it mightn’t always be pleasing on the eye but the main thing is to get up the steps and get the cup at the end of the year.
“There’s a great bunch of lads there. We have played in seven finals in-a-row now. We had lost three of those coming into this so things are looking better now.
“The team and the management deserve a huge slap on the back because the work is massive.”
Naomh Conaill had ten different scorers on the day and while conditions were perfect, some of their shooting was outstanding.
“We have got brilliant footballers in this team. Tactically they are all very strong but they can play direct too.
“We showed in the Eunan’s match that we have good shooters when we only had one wide.
“We have good ball-carriers and shooters and we have huge confidence in the men that pull the trigger when we get up the field and we are happy with it.”
Gallagher was back keeping an eye on the house for Naomh Conaill and he had a big tussle with Gaoth Dobhair full-forward Eamon McGee.
It was a physical duel and Gallagher gave a fist to the crowd at one stage in the second half when he batted away another aerial contest.
“I do enjoy it,” he said.
“Eamon is a character and we had a bit of a chat and a bit of a laugh.
“Eamon is a great footballer and a great servant to Donegal and a great servant to Gaoth Dobhair.
“He owes the county and Gaoth Dobhair nothing. I’m happy we came out on top today but it’s not always like that.”
Naomh Conaill now march on to the Ulster Senior Club Championship and they will be aiming to put their best foot forward in that competition.
The club now have fantastic floodlights in operation in Davy Brennan Memorial Park and senior players took a key role, travelling all over Ulster to sell tickets for a fundraising draw.
They knew that floodlights at their base would boost their preparation and it should be a significant help ahead of the Gowna quarter-final.
“Naomh Conaill is a massive, massive community. We have some great, great men and women behind the scenes doing serious work.
“We ran a big draw a couple of years back. Our senior team and underage teams and supporters put in a big push to raise money and we put up floodlights, that is massively beneficial towards us.
“You need the lights at this time of the year because if you’re going well, matches will be played in the autumn/winter time.
“The fact that we have the lights up now, it gives us a great platform to prepare for teams and hopefully get the results that are needed,” he added.