DONEGAL DAILY’S CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM OF THE YEAR UNVEILED

first_imgDonegal Daily have selected their Donegal SFC Team of the year following the conclusion of this year’s championship. Ran off over an intense six-week period, it was St Eunan’s who eventually emerged as champions.Maxi Curran’s side were dismissed as contenders before the start of the championship, but they proved their doubters wrong. They defeated local rivals and reigning champions Glenswilly last Sunday to take the Dr Maguire Cup back to Letterkenny.It was a very difficult team to select, but not surprisingly the team has been dominated by players from both St Eunan’s and Glenswilly.No.1 Gerard McGrenra (Glenswilly)McGrenra was expected to be a bit-part player for Gary McDaid’s Glenswilly side this year, but an injury to first-choice goalkeeper Phillip O’Donnell resulted in McGrenra playing a pivotal role. The towering McGrenra stepped up to the plate for Glenswilly and conceded only ONE goal in six Donegal SFC matches.That goal coming from Martin McElhinney in their final group game against St Michael’s.McGrenra’s performances were excellent throughout the Donegal SFC and is deserving of being named in the team-of-the-year.Honourable mentions to Marc Anthony McGinley (St Michael’s) and Sean Daffan (St Eunan’s)N0.2 Conor Parke (St Eunan’s) The young defender was absolutely outstanding for St Eunan’s throughout this year’s Donegal SFC.His energy and late runs from deep were a constant menace for opposition defences, while he also proved to be equally competent in his defensive duties.A player with a really bright future ahead of him, and don’t be surprised if he’s part of Rory Gallagher’s plans for Donegal in the forthcoming season.No.3 Eamonn Ward (Glenswilly) The teak tough full-back is a no-nonsense operator and again this year was a pivotal performer for Glenswilly.There’s not many players that get the better of Ward, and he has proven to be one of the most consistent Glenswilly players over recent years.Predominantly known for his defensive abilities, Ward showed he’s no novice in front of the posts either.His late point against Naomh Conaill was the point that sealed their passage to the final, and he showed great composure to tap over when some might have went for goal.N0.4 Brian McDaid (Glenswilly) McDaid is a solid competitor that forwards rarely get the better off, and he enjoyed a fine championship for Glenswilly.Known affectionately by team-mates as ‘Shorty’ the veteran rolled back the years with a series of consistent and typically solid displays.McDaid also caught the eye with his regular surges up the pitch, he was composed on the ball and used possession very effectively for Glenswilly.Honourable mentions to James Henry Alcorn (St Michael’s) Conor Morrison (St Eunan’s) Sean Hensey (St Eunan’s)N0.5 Andrew Kelly (St Michael’s) Andrew Kelly was an outstanding performer for Tony Wilkinson’s side throughout the championship.Kelly scored 1-2 from play in their narrow semi-final defeat to St Eunan’s.He was also had excellent performances in the quarter-final victory over Dungloe and against Kilcar in the group stages.St Michael’s adopted a defensive set-up throughout the championship, and it was the regular late runs of Kelly up their right-hand side that was proved to be prominent feature in their play.His ability to break at speed from defence into attack made him a key player for St Michael’s, and his quality on the ball made him a hugely effective player for Tony Wilkinson’s side.No.6 Eamon Doherty (St Eunan’s) Eamon Doherty made a number of cameo appearances during Jim McGuinness’s tenure as Donegal manager, but judging by his performances in this year’s championship he could be destined for a bigger role under new manager Rory Gallagher.Doherty played at No.6 throughout the championship and was an integral player for Maxi Curran’s side.His discipline in the tackle and his effective and economic use of possession were features of his play that caught the eye.Doherty brought a physical presence to a relatively light St Eunan’s defence, and his quality and experience led them over the line against Glenswilly on Sunday.Doherty was narrowly pipped to the man-of-the-match award by veteran John Haran.No.7 Dara Mulgrew (St Eunan’s) Mulgrew has enjoyed an excellent season, but his goal against St Michael’s in the semi-final stands out as a turning point in St Eunan’s championshipSt Eunan’s found themselves four points down early in the second-half and desperately needed a goal.Up stepped Mulgrew to bury a fantastic goal past Marc Anthony McGinley, and that goal was the crucial score that breathed new life back into St Eunan’s at that stage in the match.They eventually won by 1 point, but that goal was seen as the major turning point in the match.Mulgrew was quality throughout the Donegal SFC, and had an excellent final on Sunday.Honourable mentions to Michael Gallagher (St Michael’s) Leon Kelly (Glenswilly) Marty Boyle (Naomh Conaill)N0.8 Neil Gallagher (Glenswilly) Big Neil Gallagher carried the form he displayed all summer for Donegal into the Donegal SFC with Glenswilly.The double All-Star was probably Glenswilly’s best player in the final on Sunday, and had been outstanding throughout the entire campaign for Gary McDaid’s side.His ability to dominate that middle sector of the pitch is a vital component in Glenswilly’s success.While Gallagher had his hands full on Sunday with both John Haran and Rory Kavanagh to contend with, he was still hugely impressive.No.9 Rory Kavanagh (St Eunan’s) Kavanagh was absolutely outstanding on Sunday, he was a constant thorn in Glenswilly’s side, and they simply weren’t able to contain him throughout the match.In the semi-final against St Michael’s, his point from out near the side-line that curled over was outstanding.He was a massive score in the context of the game, and levelled the match with only a few minutes left.Kavanagh also dominated for St Eunan’s in their comfortable quarter-final win over Four Masters, and enjoyed an excellent Donegal SFC after a long, hard season with Donegal.Honourable mentions Kenneth Doherty (Ardara) Kevin Rafferty (St Eunan’s) Anthony Thompson (Naomh Conaill)No.10 Christy Toye (St Michael’s)Christy Toye missed all of 2013 for Donegal, and most of the season for his club too, after a rare illness forced him onto the side-lines.However, he was outstanding for both Donegal and St Michael’s since returning to full fitness this season.He came in for close attention against St Eunan’s in the semi-final and was double-marked throughout.But that didn’t stop Toye from having an effective impact on the game for St Michael’s.His trademark gallops up the pitch are almost impossible to stop, and St Eunan’s struggled to contain him, as did Dungloe in the quarter-final.Toye is one of a golden generation of players for St Michael’s who have so far failed to land a Donegal SFC title..Toye will be hoping he can go one better next year as St Michael’s attempt to win that elusive first Donegal SFC title.No.11 Conall Dunne (St Eunan’s) Dunne scored five points in Sunday’s final and has been a crucial player all year for Maxi Curran’s team.The former Donegal star was immense in Sunday’s final and his five scores were ultimately the difference between the sides.He was also excellent against St Michael’s in the semi-final and has enjoyed a fine championship campaign.His experience and quality, and accuracy for dead balls ensure he’s one of the most important players for St Eunan’s and they’ll need him in top form for this weekend’s Ulster SFC clash with Roslea.No.12 Sean McVeigh (St Eunan’s) The dual star has really caught people’s attention during this season’s championship with a number of eye-catching displays.McVeigh’s direct running, strength and quality on the ball really stood out for St Eunan’s and made him a key player for Maxi Curran.He was consistently excellent throughout this year’s Donegal SFC, and again performed brilliantly in their final victory over Glenswilly on Sunday.Honourable mentions Ciaran Gallagher (St Michael’s) Gary McFadden (Glenswilly) Rory Carr (St Eunan’s)No.13 Dermot Molloy (Naomh Conaill) Dermot Molloy was in fantastic form for Paddy Campbell’s side throughout their run to this year’s semi-final.They narrowly lost out to Glenswilly, but Molloy kicked four superb points that day to keep Naomh Conaill in touch.His performances in the two games over Ardara were critical to Naomh Conaill’s success and for his consistent contribution he earns a spot on the team.No.14 Michael Murphy (Glenswilly) While Murphy never caught fire in the final, he still scored some great points and showed glimpses of sheer class.Murphy scored the vital goal against St Michael’s to ensure they advanced from the group stages in the championship.Was involved in eight of their ten scores in their semi-final win over Naomh Conaill, which included a number of outrageous points from placed balls.His importance to both club and county is immense, and he is a wonderful player and leader for both sides.No.15 Conor Gibbons (St Eunan’s) Gibbons scored the winning point against St Michael’s in the semi-final and was a constant menace to defences throughout their championship campaign.He scored two beautiful points from play in the Donegal SFC final last Sunday, and those scores came at crucial points in the match.He was excellent right through their entire campaign and deserves earns his place on the team.Gibbons will be a key man for Maxi Curran as they attempt to overcome Roslea in the Ulster SFC this Sunday.Honourable mentions to Colm McFadden (St Michael’s) John Haran (St Eunan’s) Daire McDaid (Termon)DONEGAL DAILY’S CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM OF THE YEAR UNVEILED was last modified: November 6th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens 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