GAA Football

No time for tears as Neil McGee eyes Tyrone

Donegal's Neil McGee with Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone during a 2015 clash at Ballybofey. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Gerry Maguire

There has been no time for tears for Gaoth Dobhair and Donegal's greatest gladiator-one Neil McGee.

For, while he is bitterly disappointed that his club did not “reach the levels we needed” against an impressive Kilcar side-the focus has now shifted firmly back to the county scene and a crunch Allianz Football League clash with Tyrone in a month, probably in Ballybofey.

And he warned that Donegal and all counties face a “huge challenge” to get back up to Championship pitch.

McGee is in his 16th year in the green and gold-he made his debut under Brian McEniff in 2005 but his huge appetite remains undimmed.

He said: “I was chatting to Declan and he asked me if I wanted to take a bit of a rest, but I said no, I just want to get straight back into it and put last weekend to bed.

“Last year I had the whole winter to think about that Glenties county final defeat and that was a sore one, but it will great to get straight back into the county scene.

“It is only around a month away. This is a massive five to six weeks as you have players coming in from clubs and we are nowhere near the level that you need at county level and it is a very short step.

“And we won't have the Kilcar and Naomh Conaill players until after September 27.

“That could present problems too as you always have the risk of injury.

“But all counties are in the same boat and it will be a very hectic next few months.”

There has been some talk of Tyrone wanting “revenge”, but the wily McGee does not buy this brand.

He added: “People might talk about Tyrone wanting revenge, but there is never any revenge between us it is just a great rivalry and it always comes down to inches, a black card, a sending off or something else.

“Last year they had a man black-carded in the championship and we pushed on with some early goals-but this year we are starting with a clean sheet.”

He added: “You always know that you will get a battle from them and this year will be no different.

“It is always on the day between us.''

On the plus side the Covid situation has given some of Donegal's injured time to recover: “Paddy McGrath, Jason McGee, Stephen McMenamin and Michael Langan have all been back playing with their clubs and that is very encouraging.”

Even more encouraging for Donegal, is the fact that Neil McGee is ready for another great battle.

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GAA Football