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St Eunan's Conall Dunne sets sights on career highlight

By Declan Bogue

There's nothing quite like momentum.

After drawing level at the top of the Donegal Championship leaderboard with Gaoth Dobhair on 14 titles last weekend, St Eunan's of Letterkenny found life surprisingly easy against Fermanagh kingpins Roslea on their home patch of O'Donnell Park.

At half time, they had actually kept Roslea entirely scoreless, leading 1-5 to 0-0. Former county forward Conall Dunne had accounted for 1-4 of their tally, the goal coming from the penalty spot after Niall Cassidy tugged John Haran's jersey in the large parallelogram. Dunne sent the ball to goalkeeper Sean Boyle's left and to the net.

"I just kept the head over the ball and put it in the corner," the veteran described afterwards.

"We had Kieran Sharkey or Lee McMonagle (taking penalties) before, but I've taken it now. I've a bit of experience I suppose so it takes a bit of pressure off the young lads.

"I'm happy enough with my scores, but I wasn't too pleased with my second half. I missed a couple that I really should have got.

"As a team in the second half we wouldn't be happy at all. It almost felt like a defeat because of the poor second half. That gives us something to work on which is always a good thing."

St Eunan's have had a few forays into the Ulster club championship. This is their fifth since 2007 and it can be said they have not done themselves justice.

Certainly, it's a viewpoint Dunne agrees with.

"Over the years, between celebrations and what not, it just hasn't gone our way," he added.

"This was a special one since it was in O'Donnell Park. Losing wasn't really an option. We felt that it was a game we should win so, from that point of view, losing wasn't an option. We went out with a purpose in the first half.

"In my 15 years playing for St Eunan's we have only got to one Ulster club semi-final. These chances don't come around too often and it might never come again. These are the opportunities you have to take. We'll go and give it our all, we'll leave everything out on the field and we can have no regrets after that.

"We're expected to win Championships at St Eunan's. We have that pedigree. Boys coming up through the ranks in this club see the teams on the walls - they know what's expected of them. We're ploughing a new furrow now in Ulster and it's different.

"In Ulster, we found it hard and the wheels came off a couple of times. With some of the bigger teams gone it's a bit more open."

Having played at home on Sunday, the Letterkenny side will only have to travel 20 miles over to Celtic Park for this Sunday's semi-final against Omagh. Dunne sees this as a defining tie.

"To get to an Ulster final with St Eunan's would be an absolute dream. I remember being here at seven or eight and it would be the proudest moment of my career if it were to happen. We can't get ahead, though. We have a job to do and a serious team to face."

Belfast Telegraph


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