Despite losing their opening game of 2023 in the McKenna Cup to Down, it was a day to remember for nine young Donegal players.
Paddy Carr named a youthful side that featured two players making their full debut, while he brought on seven more to don the Donegal jersey for the first time at senior level.
Donegal lost the tie 2-14 to 1-10 having conceded the two goals in a hectic first half that ended 2-9 to 1-7.
Glenfin’s Luke McGlynn was named to start when the team was announced on Friday, the 18-year-old the first to be confirmed as a debutant.
But a late change to the team saw Caolan McGonigle come out of the team in place of Domhnall Mac Giolla Bhríde.
The Gaoth Dobhair man played 45 minutes having helped his club side to the Under-21 A final the previous day with a win over MacCumhaills in Convoy.
Another man who impressed in that game was Joel Bradley Walsh, who kicked six points for the Twin Towns side, and was rewarded yesterday when coming on at half-time.
He was one of three players to come on at the break, along with Killybegs’ Jack McSharry, looking to claw back the five point deficit.
As the tempo of the game slowed in comparison to the first half, Carr made another triple substitution, with another three debutants coming on after 45 minutes, in Ardara’s JR Molloy, Brian O’Donnell of Kilcar and Milford man Kane Barrett, who opened his Donegal account up with the last point of the game.
Downing’s man Johnny McGroddy also was on the scoresheet, with his point coming within a minute of his short cameo.
McGroddy was introduced with 10 minutes to go along with Hugh O’Donnell of St. Michael’s, rounding out the debutants.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, Marty O’Reilly returned to the field for Donegal for the first time in four years as Paddy Carr reintroduced the MacCumhaills man in the last 15 minutes.