By Niall Gartland
DONAGHMORE will play four finals at underage level over the course of the next week or so – and while it’s certainly a demanding schedule, it’s a testament to how well things are going in the club in general.
Their minor team are bracing themselves for their Grade Two Championship final against Cookstown on Monday evening, while they play the same opponents just three days later in the Grade Two league final on Thursday.
There’s some player overlap with their impressive U16 team, who are in action in the Grade One League final against Ardboe on Saturday, and they’ve also qualified for the Grade One Championship final, while will likely take place the following weekend against the winners of Killyclogher and Cookstown.
It remains to be seen how well Donaghmore will perform in those four finals, but it’s an achievement nonetheless, and minor manager Aidan Shields says it’s the culmination of years and years of hard work behind the scenes.
Shields said: “There’s been a big push in the clubs as regards youth football from U6s up.
“Our youth officer Martin O’Neill put in a massive effort into creating these structures.
“We started a thing called ‘Wee Pats’ for the tots and this current minor team is the first team which has gone through that process, so it’s a testament to the work that has gone towards those younger age groups. We’re also blessed at the minute with pretty strong numbers.”
While it’s going to be an exceptionally busy few days for the club, there’s also an understandable measure of relief that the matches are going ahead at all.
Shields said: “We’re coming from the starting point where we’re just hapy that the 2020 competitions are going to get completed. It’s understandable that the County Board wants to get them run off as quickly as possible so we’ll take what we can get.
“The difficulty for us, and it’s a nice problem to have, is that we’re probably going to have four finals in seven or eights days so there’s going to be a bit of work in managing all that.”
See this week’s Ulster Herald and Dungannon Herald for our full interview with Donaghmore minor manager Aidan Shields