Naomh Colmcille v Aodh Ruadh
NAOMH Colmcille are expected to welcome Ryan McErlean and Ciaran Devine back into their ranks for Saturday evening’s game against Aodh Ruadh at Pairc Colmcille (throw-in 7pm).
The pair missed last Sunday’s Division 3 League win over Red Hughs, but are likely to return to the plans of Francie Martin for this crunch clash between the two teams who recorded wins on match day one.
Ricky Hegarty remains out with a broken thumb and the Newtowncunningham outfit will be without the Friel brothers, Paul and Michael, who are on holidays in America and 2012 Donegal panelist Thomas McKinley has upped sticks and moved to Australia this summer, but youngsters like John Fullerton (pictured above in action against Aodh Ruadh) and Daniel Clarke, as well as Willie Gillespie, a county under-21 this year, have been showing good form.;
Packie McGrath’s Aodh Ruadh overcame Buncrana in their opening fixture and will look to have Peter Boyle, Kerry Ryan and the ever-green Michael ‘Sticky’ Ward to the fore.
This one is a repeat of a semi-final in 2012, won by Aodh Ruadh after a replay.
Buncrana v St Naul’s
STEPHEN Griffin’s return from Australia and his subsequent call-up to the Donegal senior football panel had proved to be a real feather in the cap of St Naul’s.
Griffin will again be the man the Mountcharles side will look to for both the inspiration and the scores on Sunday when they travel to The Scarvey to tackle Buncrana, last year’s beaten finalists (throw-in 3pm).
Griffin is playing at centrefield most of the time these days, but St Naul’s can also look to the likes of Barry Rose, Barry Griffin and Stewart Johnston.
Much will depend on the availability of Darach O’Connor for Buncrana. ‘Jigger’ has been plagued by knee problems this year and had a frustrating time of it around the county panel because of his trouble.
O’Connor is said to be a major doubt for this weekend and, while Buncrana do have the likes of John Campbell and Odhrán Doherty, the diminutive ace O’Connor will be central.
Burt v Milford
HIBERNIAN Park hosts a huge game on Saturday evening as the Division 3 title battlers, Burt and Milford, go head-to-head in the Championship (throw-in 7pm).
Burt have blooded a number of young players to compliment their ever-dangerous array of dual players and Damian Dowds’ crew will look to their minor contingent to step it up against in-form Milford.
Shaun Paul Barrett and Milford are on course for Division 2, but they are up against it as they – like their opponents this weekend – lost their opening Championship game.
Kane Barrett, who played this year for the Donegal minors, has been on form, as has Cathal McGettigan and it is this pair that the Moyle View men will be depending on for the scores.
Bundoran v Naomh Brid
A SOUTH Donegal derby is the order of the day at Gaelic Park on Sunday when Naomh Brid go to the seaside to face Bundoran (throw-in 3pm).
Donegal panelist David Walsh is the ace in the Naomh Brid pack while Donegal Under-21 Jamie Brennan, who featured for the 2014 minors, is the man on song in Bundoran.
Bundoran are at the top of Division 2 and are on form so are fancied to win this against an out-of-sorts Naomh Brid, although the presence of Walsh in the ranks will be of a considerable boost to the Ballintra men.
Still, with Brennan, Tommy Hourihane, Peter McGonigle and James Keaney to call upon, Bundoran will go in as the hot favourites.
Carndonagh v Urris
URRIS won the Junior title last year and had a memorable march to the Ulster final, which they lost against Rock St Patrick’s from Tyrone.
They’ve moved up a grade, but they’ll fancy their chances of toppling Carndonagh in an Inishowen derby on Saturday evening (throw-in 7pm).
They remain well in the hunt for promotion into Division Two, but will be acutely aware of the threat posed by Carndonagh, even if their fellow peninsula outfit are operating in Division 4.
Carndonagh have a promotion-relegation play-off to look forward to with the Dohertys, Padraig and Gerard, in good form.
Kevin McLaughlin, Peter Devlin, Jason Doherty and Dean Kelly are among those who inspired the Junior tilt last year – and Urris, who lost out by a point against Fanad in their last game, will be anxious to get a win this weekend.
Fanad Gaels v Naomh Columba
IT’S a long trek, but with the smell of Championship in the nostrils, it’s with a real purpose that Naomh Columba will head to Portsalon on Sunday for what promises to be a titanic battle of two of the hopefuls for the Cathal McLaughlin Cup (throw-in 3pm).
Brendan Doherty has the reigns in Glencolmcille this year and will be hoping for good display from the likes of Ryan Gillespie, Kevin McNern and Paddy Byrne, who were part of the Under-21 team that ran Kilcar close in the Championship last week.
Glen won promotion into Division 2 last year and have been posting some good displays, but the Championship is where they gauge their campaigns around Pairc na nGael.
Both teams recorded wins in their opening group fixtures, with Glen defeating Carndonagh and Fanad winning away to Urris.
Fanad, under the watch of Michael O’Connor, will look to Seamie Friel and Michael Sweeney to take them over the line in what could be one of the closest battles of the weekend.