Donegal head to Louth this Sunday requiring at least a draw in their final league game to be sure of qualifying for the Division 3A final.
Donegal, with just one defeat from their four games to date, are sitting second in the Division 3A league table, level with Roscommon, but behind the Connacht side on score difference.
They are two points ahead of Fermanagh and Monaghan, who play this weekend. And while Donegal are in pole position to take one of the two final spots, mathematically, it is possible they could be overtaken by either Fermanagh or Monaghan.
But for that to happen they would have to lose heavily to Louth and the winner of the Monaghan and Fermanagh tie would need to win by a big margin.
If Donegal or Roscommon were to lose either Monaghan or Fermanagh would be on six points and the promotion places would have to go to score difference. At the moment Roscommon are +27, Donegal +23 and Monaghan -10 and Fermanagh -20.
Louth, who have just one win against Longford are out of the running, as are Longford.
Louth have lost 2-16 to 1-15 to Roscommon, 0-15 to 1-11 to Monaghan and Fermanagh 5-13 to 2-12.
“We are going to have to go to Louth and win. We cannot afford to take any chances as the head to head does not count when teams end up equal on points,” said Donegal assistant manager, Mickey McCann.
“Unless they draw, either Fermanagh or Monaghan are going to end up on six points and while we hold the advantage on score average we can take no chances.”
The only blemish on an otherwise good Donegal campaign was a 3-11 to 0-15 defeat to Roscommon the weekend before last. But last year’s Nicky Rackard Cup winners bounced back last Sunday with a 3-16 to 1-7 victory over Monaghan in O’Donnell Park.
Paddy Hannigan, Sean McVeigh and Kevin Campbell scored the goals in what was a very workmanlike performance from Ray Durack’s charges.
Donegal will be without a number of key personnel this weekend with both Danny Cullen and Paul Sheridan on the treatment table.
“Danny and Paul are both struggling with hamstring injuries picked up last Sunday against Monaghan. Danny is definitely out of the game on Sunday and Paul is extremely doubtful,” said Donegal assistant manager.
Justin Browne replaced Cullen and Jonathan Downey came on for Sheridan in O’Donnell Park and are two of the options open to the Donegal management.
This may result in a number of positional alterations. Enda McDermott and Sean McVeigh are two of the options to fill in for Cullen at midfield alongside Ronan McDermott.
Browne has already started a number of games in the campaign so far and looks the likely replacement for Sheridan in the half-back line.
Other than Cullen and Sheridan, Donegal have no other injury concerns and no other major changes are expected to the side that started last week against Monaghan.