RORY GALLAGHER HEADS for home territory on Wednesday night aiming for a winning margin of five points or greater against Fermanagh.
Gallagher, a star of Fermanagh football in the late 90s and early 2000s, takes Donegal to Brewster Park for a meeting with Pete McGrath’s team who have won two-from-two in Section B.
Fermanagh defeated Down 0-14 to 0-8 yesterday having beaten St Mary’s College during the week.
Donegal’s defeat to St Mary’s yesterday in Letterkenny meant the calculators were called for and a five-point win, or more, is the requirement for the Tir Chonaill men.
“Whatever way it went, we’d have to win to make sure of it. It’s set it up nicely now,” Gallagher told Donegal Sport Hub.
Fermanagh have a points difference of +8 with Donegal on -1, while St Mary’s take on Down on Wednesday night in Newry and are well in the hunt too.
Donegal will be hoping for a Down win or a St Mary’s win by nothing greater than a point – provided Donegal beat Fermanagh by the minimum required.
Gallagher is using the competition to try out a lot of new faces and has made no secret of his desire to advance to the semi-finals.
Stephen McMenamin was the latest debutant yesterday as the Red Hughs man made a good, solid impression at corner-back.
Picture caption: Stephen McMenamin in action for Donegal against Matthew Fitzpatrick of St Mary’s College. Picture by Geraldine Diver
Gallagher said: “Stephen did well. He battled well and he doesn’t have an awful lot of training under his belt because he was out for eight weeks.
“They’re not out of place and this will stand them in good stead. St Mary’s have a lot of inter-county players.
“St Mary’s put a lot of men behind the ball and we struggled with that, but it’s a good learning curve for our younger lads. It’s a big step up for them. I watched St Mary’s during the week and they had a man sent off and were five up against Fermanagh. They’re in great shape for the time of the year.”
Odhrán MacNiallais kicked six points for Donegal, who missed a host of chances at the turn of halves and paid the price when Ryan Johnstone cracked home the winning goal in the 56th minute.
Gallagher said: “It’s a good wake-up call for a lot of boys and it’s a marker for the younger lads who’ll have to get ready to face this kind of team.
“The second goal was the killer, but I expected us to be four or five points up at that stage. We missed a lot of chances.
“We dominated a lot of possession, but struggled to break them down in the first half. We came out for the second half and missed a number of chances. It shouldn’t have been a case where we were only a point up when that goal went in.
“We’re not happy to lose and we’re not happy with level of performance but it’s early days yet for a lot of them and it’ll help mould them for the future. We said to them that there’ll be ups and downs – and there’ll be bigger downs than a McKenna Cup defeat.”Tags: