Masters and Ardara battle for survival

Masters and Ardara battle for survival
Ardara and Four Masters will battle for the right to remain in Division One of the All County League with a relegation play-off on Sunday.

Ardara and Four Masters will battle for the right to remain in Division One of the All County League with a relegation play-off on Sunday.

The game is in Tirconaill Park on Sunday at 3 p.m. with the losers dropping to Division Two for next season.

Ardara manager Adrian Brennan laughs when reminded that Ardara’s record of the longest serving team in the top flight in Donegal

“You don’t have to remind me about that,” laughs Adrian.

Ardara have been playing in Division One since 1977 - a remarkable record, but because they finished second from bottom, they have to play this relegation play-off at the home of opponents, Four Masters.

“It’s an important game. It was something we were trying to avoid,” said Adrian, who was not going to use a tough season with injuries as an excuse.

“The club, like others, is in transition,” said Adrian, who said that he went to watch Gaoth Dobhair and Glenswilly play last year in Letterkenny and felt it was a difficult thing to deal with. “But here we are now.”

Ardara, already without long-term injured Matthew Maher and Paddy McGrath, will be planning without Brendan Boyle, who has had an unfortunate year.

“Brendan is extremely doubtful,” said Adrian, who said that he had an unbelievable attitude which saw him recover from other injuries to play against Gaoth Dobhair and Glenswilly in the championship.

“We are under no illusion. We have to travel to Tirconaill Park. Both sides will be going with all guns blazing,” said Adrian, who is hoping that the championship semi-final performance against Glenswilly can be repeated.

It is no different in the Four Masters camp with injuries also playing a big part in the reason for the Donegal Town side being in the play-off position. “We have been missing Benny Byrne, Michael Doherty and Karl Lacey for a large part of the season,” said manager, Emlyn Hughes.

“We have been relying on our young players with seven minors playing recently against St. Michael’s.

“Every cloud has a silver lining and we would be happy that we have brought through young players this year,” said Hughes.

“It will be a battle. We will have motivation due to our poor performance down in Ardara in the championship. We will not be short of motivation.

“Ardara are hard to beat but this will be our county final, the same as a championship clash. Ardara have a proud tradition but we are just as proud in Four Masters,” said Hughes, who added that he had also been reminded of Four Masters’ long standing in Division One of the All County League.

Something will have to give. Both sides will be going all out to retain their top flight status and no doubt both deserve to be there, but either Four Masters or Ardara will be Division Two next season.