Kavanagh tight-lipped on Donegal job as champions St Eunan's advance to final

St Eunan's, Letterkenny manager Rory Kavanagh insists he is fully focused on the club's defence of their Donegal title amid speculation linking him with the Donegal manager's job Picture: Margaret McLaughlin.
Gerry McLaughlin

A speculation is rife that St Eunan's team manager could be the next Donegal senior team manager-

St Eunan's managerRory Kavanagh declined to be drawn on the rumours that he is set to be named the new Donegal manager in the aftermath of his team's victory over Kilcar in the county semi-final on Saturday night.

It is widely believed that he is the favourite to succeed Declan Bonner in the hot seat, but when asked about the intense speculation, he said: “I am just concentrating on the club now and that is my priority and has all of my focus”.

Kavanagh's men won by just two points on a score of 1-13 to 1-11 but the scoreline does not reflect their superiority over the hour.

But he did agree that his men made “hard work of it”.

And he was not happy with the decision of referee Jimmy White to award a free against Shane O'Donnell which led directly to Kilcar's goal just before half-time which spurred a Kilcar comeback.

“Yes, we made hard work of it, but I thought the decision on Shane O'Donnell in the first half which led to their goal was a very cruel decision.

“Shane seemed to be taken out of it and it should have been a free in but from that free out Paddy McBrearty shoots for a point, and it dropped short and they got a flick on and a goal. That was on the half-time whistle, and it made it a three-point game.

“And Kilcar would have memories of last year when we were five points up at half-time and we fell away but that was a learning for us. Twelve months on, the team has grown and matured and they trust each other more."

And even thought Kilcar levelled matters at 1-8 each by the 45th minute and also had a half chance of a goal when Shaun Patton was caught out 45 metres from his goals, the reigning champions stuck to the game plan.

They did not alter their pattern even though they hadn't scored for 15 minutes, and their patience was rewarded when they eventually got the winning scores.

“Yes, that was important, that we stuck to our guns, and we created the opportunities to shoot because Kilcar were defending well.

“We had to be patient and they were feeding off turnovers and they did turn us over on a few occasions in the second half when Paddy McBrearty scored.”

McBrearty had a half chance of a goal when he got possession with Patton in no man's land, but Kavanagh saluted his men's sheer fitness in averting a possible goal.

“Thankfully we had good recovery pace in the sprints, and we got Paddy's head down and he had to turn around again.

“But its fine margins and the lads had to experience that tonight because Kilcar came at us.”

St Eunan's: S Patton; C Parke, C Ward (0-1), A Deeney; P Devine (0-1), C O'Donnell (0-2), P McEniff; S McGettigan, K Kealy (0-1); C Moore (0-2), S O'Donnell, D Mulgrew (0-1); P McGettigan (1-1) N O'Donnell (0-3, 0-2 frees) E McGeehin (0-1) Subs: S McVeigh for P McGettigan, K Tobin for P McEniff (39), C Morrison for C Parke (60).

Kilcar: K Campbell; P Carr, B O'Donnell, R McShane; R McHugh (0-1) A McClean (0-2) M McHugh; C McGinley (0-1) J Campbell; (1-0) E Cormack, C Doherty, E McHugh; D Lyons, P McBrearty (0-7, 0-3 free) O Doogan

Subs: M Sweeney for E McHugh (10), D O'Donnell for M Sweeney (55)

Referee: J White (Killybegs).