McGrath almost definitely out as Donegal hope to seal promotion

Peter Campbell

Reporter:

Peter Campbell

Donegal go into the penultimate game in the Allianz National Football League on Sunday against Antrim with a win almost assuring them of a place back in the top flight once more.

Donegal go into the penultimate game in the Allianz National Football League on Sunday against Antrim with a win almost assuring them of a place back in the top flight once more.

They will be relying on a few other results going their way to be able to celebrate on Sunday evening which would mean their trip to O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, the following Sunday would be a more relaxed affair.

Before that Sunday’s game against the Saffrons in Fr. Tierney Park, Ballyshannon (2.30 p.m.) must be won. Then Jim McGuinness and his squad will be listening to their radios and ‘phones for news from Healy Park, Omagh and Markievicz Park, Sligo where Tyone host Kildare and Sligo play Laois respectively. A win for either Tyrone or Sligo along with Donegal picking up the two points in Ballyshannon will mean that Donegal are promoted before a ball is kicked on the final league weekend.

That might sound a little confusing, but no matter what happens, Donegal have the ball at their feet as they lead the Division and two wins in their final two games would be sufficient no matter what the other results.

They will go into Sunday’s game with Antrim minus corner-back Paddy McGrath, who injured an ankle at county training on Friday night last and could be out for a couple of weeks. The injury could mean a first competitive start for Killybegs’ Jason Noctor as a direct replacement.

There was good news on the injury front for Neil McGee, who played a starring role for his club Gaoth Dobhair in their league game on Sunday, showing no ill effects for the injury he picked up against Derry.

Elsewhere Neil Gallagher played for Glenswilly and should be back in contention while Eoin Waide, who rejoined the county panel last week, missed Naomh Conaill’s game with Cloughaneely through injury.

Ironically, despite being top of the table and unbeaten in five games, Donegal will be hoping for a first home win in the league, having drawn their two previous home games with Sligo and Kildare.

Ladies win again

The Donegal Ladies had another good win over Kildare on Sunday in Letterkenny and will more than likely face Cork in the Division One semi-final. They have one game left (away to Monaghan) and would need to win by a very large margin to take top spot and avoid Cork as first place plays fourth and second plays third.

Division One Ladies Table

Monaghan 6 6 0 0 107 65 42 18

Cork 6 5 1 0 131 72 59 15

Donegal 6 5 1 0 115 114 1 15

Tyrone 6 2 3 1 93 109 -16 7

Laois 6 2 4 0 90 95 -5 6

Galway 6 1 3 2 81 106 -25 5

Kildare 6 1 4 1 96 115 -19 4

Mayo 6 0 6 0 75 112 -37 0