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August 11th 2004

Spare the Rod.....

Is Brian McEniff a masochist? For a man suffering self-professed health problems, with strong family ties, and extensive business commitments, to opt to stay on in the cauldron that is county Donegal GAA, is baffling, to say the least. But it seems that this is the Bundoran man’s decision, and, as such, must be respected. However from here on, a big stick approach needs to be introduced by management to instill discipline and loyality into a team, a proportion of which, it appears, will not react to the carrot.
McEniff is an honourable man – his interview on Highland Radio with Charlie Collins, revealed his innate decency. But once disintegration starts, whether among the staff in a business or players on a team, it is time to take stock and plan for a clean-out. Discipline is a priority - clear ground rules need to be laid down - and anyone who doesn’t want to adhere, must be ruthlessly axed.
Gaelic football has changed a lot since ’92, and management and back-up staff must follow that change. It’s a new era in every sport – whether professional or amateur – and the distinction between the two is blurring all the time. Sheer, single minded determination, as well as skill, is now an essential for the participant. As Brian McEniff said in his radio interview, anything that is a distraction must be laid aside until the goal is achieved.
Standards are infinitely higher than a decade ago. The top players know that discipline off the field is as important as skill on it. The day of the hard-drinking, fast-living sportsman reaching the top, is at an end. Sheer, straight line determination that lasts until the last hill is climbed, the winning try scored, the tape breasted and the cup hoisted, is the only characteristic that can elevate the sportsman to the top of his profession.
The day of over-celebrating the first round win or drowning a provincial final defeat, when another match is only days away, doesn’t work any more. The manager can only motivate and point in the desired direction - in the final analysis, it is the player on the field who must conform - and perform.

A flavour of the Ballintra races: As horses thunder to the line in the Donegal Derby, jockey Emmet Butterly eases ‘Run Willy Run’ to the front, to win by half a length. But horse and jockey had to survive a stewards’ enquiry before claiming the €1500 prize. Photo: Jason McGarrigle

Developer Bennett springs surprise property coup on unsuspecting community
Hush-Hush negotiations result in assembly of significant land portfolio close to town

Donegal Times has learned that, over a period of months, Christopher Bennett and Sons have put together a parcel of development land in one of the most strategic positions around Donegal Town. The area is that between the bypass and Mullins Road and takes in property owned by Mrs Doreen Browne, Mrs Eileen Sweeney and, possibly, Mr Tony McDermott of The Mill Park Hotel.
The total ground area is likely to be about 8 acres. Doreen Browne is believed to have sold her total holding which includes the house, West Point Villa; Mrs Sweeney has parted with just over two acres, but keeps her house and land to the front.
Discussions with the landowners were carried in almost total secrecy by auctioneer Keith Anderson and each principal was urged to be discreet in discussing the on-going negotiations.
When approached by this writer, the vendors expressed surprise that Donegal Times should be aware of the consultations and the deals that followed.
This is an immense coup by the Bennett camp. The resultant multi-acre site is certainly, in local eyes, ‘the jewel in the crown’ as far as development sites around town are concerned and it installs the developer as favourite to provide our area with its first dedicated shopping and retail complex.
The surprise deal means that almost all the land zoned for development around town, has been snapped up.
Danny Keeney and backers own 26 acres at Revlin. Bennett has bought the rest of the Council site at Drumlonagher. Keeney, provided certain conditions are met, will take over the Bosco and mart and is negotiating with other businesses in the vicinity to add more space to the town-centre site. The same man is also talking to land owners behind the mart seeking to acquire land there to make an entrance/exit to the proposed new retail complex from the Drumlonagher area. The Diamond car park is a mystery, but Cllr Peter Kennedy is adamant that a major development is to be placed there.
It is reported that Keeney has successfully negotiated the purchase of a large site out at Lurganboy, along with another at Tullyearl and options on land at Tullymorin and Drumgowan.
This places almost all the land, suitably designated in the recent Town Draft Plan, in the hands of these two developers. Meanwhile, the chess game continues. Planning applications are lobbed in, objections follow - new proposals then hatched, with appeals de-rigueur. And so it goes on - our people will only begin to believe all the hype being bandied about when they see concrete (literally) proof rising above the ground. Until then, scepticism reigns!

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-74-9722860 Fax: +353-74-9722937


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