Paddy McBrearty at the launch of the AIB GAA Club Championships this week.
Source: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE
“WELL, I THINK 23 years is too long for Kilcar to not even be in a final, never mind win one,” declares Patrick McBrearty firmly.
The Donegal talisman is speaking a few days out from county senior final day, a game where Kilcar’s long and exhausting wait to be part of the marquee club football occasion in the North-West, will come to an end.
McBrearty has stockpiled a collection of accolades at inter-county level, sampling All-Ireland and Ulster senior success. In July he delivered a career best display in shooting the lights out against Cork and amassing 0-11.
Patrick McBrearty in action against Cork in July
Source: Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO
But at club level, it has been different. McBrearty was born in August 1993. That same year Kilcar reached the Donegal county senior final. They won that decider by 0-12 to 0-10 and having local rivals Killybegs in the opposition corner made the victory all the sweeter.
It was their fourth title in 14 seasons and they had also reached another three finals where they fell short. Between 1985 and 1989, Kilcar contested four deciders. They were perennial challengers, a heavyweight on the Donegal football scene.
It was a golden era for the club but after 1993 that spell screeched to a halt. There’s been plenty frustration in the intervening 23 years until they achieved a final berth by blitzing Naomh Conaill with five goals to triumph in the Donegal semi-final earlier this month.
“There’s a lot of hype about Kilcar,” admits McBrearty.
“I think that has been the situation for Kilcar for the last six years, everyone has been expecting us to win it. I suppose with every year which passes that you don’t win it, there is added pressure.
“It is not easy playing for Kilcar and Donegal because over the last few years, there have been a few years there where it has been tough.”
Having a bunch of inter-county players in the Kilcar ranks has added to that weight of expectation. McBrearty is joined by his brother Stephen, an addition to the Donegal senior panel this year and a player who made such an impression on Donegal’s route to the 2014 All-Ireland minor final.
Then there are the McHughs. Brothers Ryan and Mark, and their cousin Eoin, were all on the pitch when Donegal’s All-Ireland adventure ended at the hands of Dublin in August. It’s a wealth of talent for Kilcar to possess but it has taken time to properly blossom.