WITH Naomh Conaill having already wrapped up top spot in Group 2 of the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta SFC and Ardara marooned at the bottom, it’s all about the race for second this evening (throw-in 6:30pm).
St Eunan’s know a home win or a draw will see them through to the quarter-finals, as a consequence of their superior scoring difference over tonight’s opponents Dungloe and will certainly be looking for some sort of reaction following their abject showing last Sunday as Naomh Conaill sauntered to an impressive 2-12 to 0-8 win in Letterkenny.
“We very very disappointing as we were out-fought, out-thought and out-everything-ed,” said St Eunan’s selector Brendan Kilcoyne. “Naomh Conaill had an intensity and an intent right from the start and we just didn’t match it on the day.”
After an impressive 2-11 to 0-7 win at Ardara on opening day, St Eunan’s are scrapping for second place. Rory Kavanagh is on his final weekend with Donegal Boston and will return home later this week, while Conor O’Donnell and Caolan Ward are still in the States, in their case in Philadelphia.
Aside that, St Eunan’s have a fully-fit panel to choose from although David Tyrell, who replaced John Paul Clarke at half-time last Sunday, is in with a shout of claiming the goalkeeper’s jersey.
There were few positives last week, barring maybe a decent shift from Conor Parke, but with Sean McVeigh and Kieran Sharkey also getting taken off at the interval, there’s likely to be some selection considerations for manager Maxi Curran.
“We haven’t spoken about last week much as we all know the issues with it,” Kilcoyne added. “The nature of it is, that we’ve a six-day turnaround and we’ve a second chance and we want to get back on the horse. But from now on it’s real championship football and we’re facing a team who has got some momentum and are on a bit of a high right now.”
Dungloe, too, have a six-day turnaround and Tony Boyle’s team have a spring in their step of late. Last Sunday at Rosses Park they trailed 0-8 to 0-0 at a stage against Ardara and were also three points down in the last minute.
However, three points from substitute Adrian Sweeney and a winner from Conor Greene sealed a dramatic win, 2-7 to 0-12.
“We said all along that we are aiming for survival in Division 1 and is we got to the third weekend in the championship still in with a shout then we’d be delighted,” Boyle said. “Last week’s second half was very pleasing and I was proud of the lads.
“But we spoke about the lack of intensity in the first half and we can’t excuse a lack of workrate. If we do something like that in Letterkenny then we won’t get a chance to get back into the game. It’s as simple as that.”
Boyle had Donegal minor and under-21 Danny Rogers in goal last weekend as Ciaran Sharkey was unwell, while Shaun Sharkey and Doalty Boyle are back on the panel having been away on holidays last weekend. Paul McGarvey is not available this evening, while Gavin Ward is still on honeymoon. It was hoped that Barry Curran would be available.
“I suppose there’s probably more pressure on St Eunan’s as they are the side who are expected to progress,” Boyle added. “For us it’s a matter of staying in the game for as long as possible and see what happens then.”Tags: