St. Eunan’s and Dungloe go head to head in the Donegal Senior Reserve Championship final in Sunday’s curtain-raiser in Sean MacCumhaill Park, 2pm.
“The goal at the start of the year was to get out of the group and take it from there. We got out of the group last year and we felt with the team we had they were good enough to at least make the quarter-final,” said Dungloe manager Dessie Gallagher.
Dungloe have taken two big scalps in the quarter final and semi-final in Naomh Conaill and Ardara.
And like all reserve teams Dessie Gallagher has a squad of young and older players and seems to have got the mix just right.
“The wins over Naomh Coniall and Ardrara were big wins for us, two very strong Division One teams packed with players with senior championship success and also success at underage.”
Captain Alan Rodgers, Jamie Sweeney in defence Mark Clerkin and Paul McGarvey at midfield and Donal Rodgers, Robert Weherly and Brendan McGarvey in the forwards are the experienced men in the Dungloe line-up, while Darragh McGee, Matthew Ward, Sean Wallace and Ryan Greene are all fine young footballers and have given the side an injection of pace this season.
Dungloe have won the Senior Reserve Championship twice in 1995 and 2009 and they also lost the 2008 final to St Eunan’s.
St Eunan’s last final appearance was in that 2008 final victory over the Rosses men.
They are managed by former senior championship winner Paul O’Dowd.
“The target at the start of the year was to reach the final and now that we have achieved that our focus is on Dungloe and winning the final,” said the St Eunan’s boss.
“We haven’t been in a final since 2008 so we put a push in this year to give the championship a rattle and thankfully everything has gone well so far.
Like Dessie Gallagher, O’Dowd has a mix of young and not so young in his squad.
“We have fielded a settled side in the last couple of games and they are playing very well.
“In our two games, against St Michael’s and Gaoth Dobhair, our defence with Adrian and Damien McClafferty in the half-back line and John Foley, at full back, has been like Fort Knox and have given very little away.
“We also have great pace and youth in the forward-line; 2-4 of the 2-6 we scored on Saturday night against Gaoth Dobhair was scored by minors.”
O’Dowd has reported no injury worries while Dessie Gallagher has more or less ruled out midfielder Stephen Doherty who suffered bruised ribs in last Sunday’s semi-final clash with Ardara.
Dungloe: B Boyle; D O’Donnell, A Rodgers, D McGee; M Ward, J Sweeney, R Rodgers; S Doherty, M Clerkin; D Rodgers, R Weherly, M Connolly; R Greene, B McGarvey, S Wallace, P McGarvey, J Boyle, E Bonner, C Carr, S Doogan, B O’Donnell, L Neely, S Doogan, C Price, S Boyle, B Glackin, M McGlynn, J Ward.
St Eunan’s: C Harley; T Grant, J Foley, C Roache; J McBride, A McClafferty, D McClafferty; C McGinley, A Doherty; B McGeehin, S Hume, A Friel; D Ashmore, E Blake, J O’Dowd, D O’Herlihy, C Maloney, C Flood, D Gillespie, E Kelly, S Bogan, B Thornton, R Crossan, D McWalter, E Kelly, R Lennon.
Paths to final
Dungloe 2-10, Termon (H)
Dungloe 0-10, Gaoth Dobhair 2-10 (A)
Dungloe 1-16, Killybegs 1-3 (H)
Dungloe 3-9, Naomh Conaill 2-11 (quarter-final)
Dungloe 1-9, Ardara 1-9 (semi-final)
St Eunan’s 4-8, Malin 1-4 (A)
St Eunan’s 3-7, Naomh Muire 1-4 (H)
St Eunan’s 3-7, Naomh Conaill 2-12 (A)
St Eunan’s 1-7, St Michael’s 0-7 (quarter-final)
St Eunan’s 2-6, Gaoth Dobhair 0-9