The meeting of Naomh Columba and Na Rossa in the curtain raiser also brings together some Donegal greats in the management corners with Noel Hegarty and Anthony Molloy with Naomh Columba and Declan Bonner with Na Rossa.
The final is a repeat of the Division final, a game in which Naomh Coumba were comfortable 2-12 to 1-5 winners, but both sides agreed that there were a couple of soft goals which made the final scorline a little false.
That Divisional finalwas 15-a-side while the Co. final will be 13-a-side due to Na Rossa’s low numbers (they have a panel of only 16).
“We have a very young squad with all bar two (Jamie McCready and Conor Melly) underage again next year while seven of the side are U-16,” said Na Rossa manager Declan Bonner.
“The divisional final was on a wet, dirty evening and we are delighted to get another chance. It is a first ever county minor final for Na Rossa,” said Declan, who won a Donegal Minor League medal with Rosses Rovers back in 1981.
Na Rossa have really been hit hard for numbers in recent years and Bonner says they are unable to field at U-14 level this year and will not have an U-16 team next year.
Apart from McCready and Melly, Na Rossa will look to their Co. players, John McDyre, Odhran Molloy and Christian Bonner (U-17) and Sean McMonagle and Adam McHugh (U-16).
For Naomh Columba, getting to county finals is also a bonus according to their manager, Noel Hegarty. “We have a good bunch of lads but we had that little bit of luck in the Divisional final. We were two points ahead and got a soft goal. I watched Na Rossa in the Co. semi-final and they improved. They will not fear us,” said Hegarty.
The former county star will look to the likes of Stephen Jones, Pauric ward, Ryan Gillespie and Paddy Byrne to give the platform for success. Byrne is the Co. minor and U-17 ‘keeper but is a vital outfield player for Naomh Columba.
“We would hope to do well but on the day you never know. It is good for us to be in a county final and it is good for Na Rossa too as they have been struggling with numbers.
“They are more used to the 13-a-side and it is a different kind of game and Ballybofey is a big pitch,” said Hegarty, who is taking nothing for granted.
In their respective county semi-finals, Naomh Columba defeated the Northern runners-up, Glenswilly by