GAA Football

Donegal: new manager, new style and deep desire to gain revenge on Galway

Kildare manager Cian O'Neill, Sean McGrath (CEO, Allianz Ireland), Paddy McBrearty (Donegal), Damien Comer of Galway, GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghaíl and Kerry selector Mikey Sheehy pictured at the 2018 Allianz Football League launch at Dublin Port Authority
Gerry McLaughlin

Remember the "Massacre in Marcievicz" could be the rallying cry for Donegal as they face Galway in a real four-pointer in O'Donnell Park,

Letterkenny tomorrow.

And if revenge is a dish best donated on the cool side, then Donegal has had all of six months to prepare the dish.

Galway hammered Donegal on a score of 4-17 to 0-14 and Mark Anthony McGinley, Caolan Ward, Eoghan Band Gallagher, Ryan McHugh, Paddy

McBrearty, Jamie Brennan and current team captain Hugh McFadden all started that match against the rampant Tribesmen.

Eloquent keeper Peter Boyle, Ciaran Thompson and Marty O'Reilly came on as substitutes on that dark evening for Donegal football.

But, six months on, Donegal has a new manager, a new style of football and a deep desire to stay in Division One.

And Aodh Ruadh club- man Boyle also has a burning desire to finally nail down a regular slot having been involved on and off since 2011.

Peter was pitched into the action in last Sunday's thriller in Killarney when regular keeper Mark Anthony McGinley had to go off injured.

But he too remembers a baptism of fire against the Tribesmen last year when his first experience just after coming on was to face a penalty

from Liam Silke, which flew into the net.

"When you come off the bench as a sub goalie you know that bad has happened.

"Last Sunday it was Mark Anthony's injury and last year was a black card and a penalty and that was a real baptism of fire against a Galway

team who gave us quite a beating.

"It is tough coming on as it is different for an outfield player, they get a warm-up and instructions.

"For us the gloves are on, the jumper if off and you are straight in".

Galway gave Donegal a real lesson last summer and it still hurts.

"We got a hiding and everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

"But this is a new game and a new year and it's been very positive up to now."

He added: "We have to go in and be the best that we can be.

"We know their key players, Damian Comer, Shane Walsh and Paul Conroy stand out and Sean Armstrong is coming back.

"But we have a lot of new faces and we just have to stand up to be counted.

"Before the QUB Dr McKenna Cup tie, I looked around the dressing room and usually you would have Michael Murphy, Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Eamon McGee, Rory Kavanagh and other experienced players.

'They are not there any more and there are now a lot of new faces and these new faces have to become leaders."

So who were his inspirational figures when the 27-year-old was growing up?

"I looked up to goalkeeper Gary Walsh a fellow Ballyshannon and I was born the year he won an All-Ireland medal with Donegal in 1992.

"That's what you hear about in the club and you still hear it.

"Look at Paul Durcan, who was much criticized for a while but he went to become the best goalkeeper in Ireland and I was lucky to work with

him for a year or two"

The Donegal team is not being announced until tomorrow so we won't know whether Boyle will get the nod to start or not.

"But you just have to put yourself in the frame of mind that the worst is happening.

"You have to prepare the same, eat the same food, drink the same liquid and do the same preparation.

"If you don't to that you are on to a loser and behind everyone else.

"You are always thinking in your head. I'm getting a game today."

One thing is certain Peter Boyle will be ready.

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