Naomh Conaill manager Martin Regan has praised the role of Donegal legend Jim McGuinness in helping the club win the Donegal county championship.
The Glenties-based side won the decider v St Eunans by 1-9 to 2-5 this Saturday. According to Regan, they wouldn't have done it without either of them the legendary Donegal manager
Speaking at the victorious team's homecoming in the village, Regan tributed their win to the former Donegal manager who couldn't be present due to the tragedy in Creeslough, where he is currently living.
There's a man not here with us tonight. He's brought us to the next level and he's had a tough week and that's Jim McGuinness.
The level that Jim has brought these lads to, we would not have won the championship in place. We can't let this night pass without mentioning him and what's he done over the past few weeks.
The All-Ireland winner and former Naomh Conaill manager was involved in the side's preparations for their sixth final in a row for the past 3 weeks.
McGuinness, of course, is from Glenties, but has strong ties to Creeslough and is reportedly living in the area.
Martin McGill - one of the ten people to die in the Creeslough explosion - is believed to be a cousin of McGuinness's wife.
His Commitment Is Second To None
Regan also thanked Barry Dunnion efforts in their victory. Barry who was part of McGuinness's backroom team in 2012, joined Naomh Conail this year working with Regan. The former defender has travelled to Glenties for every training and has gained the respect of everyone present.
When I approached Barry about coming on board at the start of the year, we all knew him from playing against him down the years. His commitment is second to none. He didn't miss one night down here. I knew the boys all had huge respect for Barry.
Champions Once Again
Naomh Conaill have constantly punched above their weight in Donegal. With one of the smallest player bases in the county, the club have been in the showpiece 6 years in a row, winning 4. In a rematch of last year's decider, they showed great defensive solidity to restrict St Eunan's attack. After Shane O'Donnell was controversially sent off for St Eunans, Naomh Conaill gained the upper hand with Ciaran Thompson kicking 4 points to win the title back. The club also won the reserve final and have a chance of winning another when their thirds play in the final at the weekend.
Next up for the club is Antrim based side Cargin in the Ulster Club Championship. With McGuinness's experience along with Regan's managerial style, Naomh Conaill will be a hard team to beat.