13 January 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Kevin Carney
Trying to extrapolate championship results this coming summer on the basis of Dr.McKenna Cup results is a fool’s occupation. However the opening round results from this year’s subsidiary provincial competition do, at least, suggest that team-managers have now all got the ‘nothing beats winning’ theory firmly encoded in their brain cells and the vim and vigour shown by their charges last weekend said as much.
On the basis of last Sunday’s results, it appears that the provincial powerbrokers are determined to give the students a right ‘oul lesson.
Competitive victories are the DNA of good team morale, self-confidence and belief. Nothing breeds success like success, after all.
Of the three competing third-level colleges in the Dr. McKenna Cup this year, i.e Queen’s University Belfast, St. Mary’s College and UUJ, only the latter chiselled out a win with the former two getting well and truly hockeyed.
One suspects the days of county managers being amenable to dropping a point or two here or there in the McKenna Cup in deference to some surgery on the tried and tested squad of players may be dying off.
Monaghan’s 0-14 to 0-6 victory over St. Mary’s might have been a tad flattering but in the business end of the pitch, they were a class apart with the relocated Paul Finlay a totemic figure.
The Ballybay collossus notched five textbook points overall, including one from a free, and collected just as many assists for his team’s 10 second half scores.
The seeds of a new year haven’t even sprouted but there’s very definitely a ‘glass half-full’ look about Eamonn McEneaney’s Class of 2012.
Last weekend, McEneaney handed intercounty debuts to Carl O’Connell (Tyholland), Tommy O’Neill (Ballybay) and Ciaran Daly (Donaghmoyne). Expect more debutants to be given their head in the coming weeks.
Even on a weekend in which stadia across Ulster were pummelled by wind and rain, the county outfits saw their largely second strings pulling all the strings in notching opening round victories.
It used to be that the bluebloods of the Gaelic games world only really flexed their muscles at championship time but in January?
Maybe we should hone in on those being blooded though in searching out that rabid hunger for possession and sense of yearning.

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