James O’Donnell says being through the tough, unforgiving mill of Division 1 this year has stood to his Aodh Ruadh.
The Ballyshannon men were back in the top flight in 2018, but were relegated after a testing campaign.
Aodh Ruadh go into Sunday’s Intermediate final against Glenfin looking to end the year with a massive lift of a Championship title – and a return to senior football.
“It was difficult to lift them,” O’Donnell says.
“We hadn’t won a game in nine weeks. We drew four in a row and that sunk us. Getting them up for Championship was very hard.
“We had a tough year in the League in Division 1. We learned a lot. We put a lot of thought into Championship this year. We lost the previous three semis and they were harder to take every time. We wanted to go one step further – and thank God we have.”
Since dropping out of the SFC for the 2011 campaign, Aodh Ruadh have been seeing the rewards of a good underage system and are coming close again.
O’Donnell says: “It’s been a long time in the making. We have a good young team. We have learned a lot in Division 1. The physicality, the speed and especially the cuteness of teams was where we got caught. We learned a lot that way. Some teams up there are very polished sides and we lacked the wee bit of cuteness.”
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