CHARLES MCGUINNESS says Naomh Conaill are motivated only by their 2019 ambitions – and not weighed by the pain of their recent falls at the final hurdle.
Naomh Conaill lost the 2017 Donegal SFC final to Kilcar and were beaten by Gaoth Dobhair last year.
12 months on and the Glenties men are back in their eighth final since 2005 when they made their big breakthrough.
“We’re not even thinking about the last couple of years,” McGuinness (pictured by Evan Logan) insisted.
“We’re just focussing on this year. Whatever happened in the last two years we have to forget about it. It’s not about righting the wrongs. It’s about getting our name on that title this year.”
In the previous two years, Naomh Conaill stood charged with not being expansive enough, but on Sunday, when they got over the line against St Eunan’s in the semi-final, patience proved a virtue,
Naomh Conaill didn’t let the concession of a 42nd minute goal, scored by Eoin McGeehan, have an adverse affect.
McGuinness said: “We didn’t panic. We said that before the game. We just wanted to stay in the game, we knew we could ground out a one or two-point win as long as we had a foot in the door. We grew into the game as it went on and got a grip on a few kick-outs.
“It was tough there. It’s nice to get over the line and into another county final. There was good resolve there.
“I always knew that we’d pull it back. It was a matter of not letting them get too far away. We always knew we could do it. When our backs are to the wall, we’ll always step up.”
A nephew of Donegal’s All-Ireland winning manager Jim McGuinness, the Naomh Conaill forward – who scored two points in Sunday’s semi-final – served as a kitman for the Donegal seniors in 2014 when they reached the All-Ireland final so he has experience of big day dressing rooms.
He admits his heart was in the mouth when Shaun Patton, the St Eunan’s goalkeeper, stood over a last-minute free on Sunday with a chance to level the tie.
Naomh Conaill survived and now they meet Gaoth Dobhair on October 20.
“We have a big two weeks ahead now,” McGuinness said.
“It means a lot. It means everything to be back in the final. We’ve trained hard since January for this. It’s nice to be back here in the final.”Tags: