Former Offaly manager, John McIntyre, famously said some years ago, ‘one of these days John McIntyre and Offaly are going to get a break and win a game’.
The former Tipperary All-Ireland winning full-back was speaking after a run of narrow and cruel defeats suffered by his Faithful county charges.
After two games and two defeats against Mayo and Armagh, in Division 2B of the Allianz National Hurling League, similar thoughts may have crossed Donegal manager Ray Durack’s mind on more than one occasion in recent weeks.
They may not have been as quite as close as those experienced by Offaly under McIntyre’s watch, but nevertheless they were pretty even contests for long strecthes with the opposition seeming to get those lucky breaks that sometimes make the difference between victory and defeat.
Donegal lost by 11 points to Mayo. However the final margin did not truly reflect how well Donegal had fared against the men from the West. Two Mayo goals in quick succession at the start of the second half took the wind out of Donegal sails, who up to that point were more or less matching the Mayo men strike for strike.
And the weekend before last they gave seasoned Division Two campaigners Armagh a run for their money on their own patch in the Athletic Grounds.
Five points separated Donegal and A|rmagh at the end of a ding dong struggle with the men from the North West in the tie right up to the closing minutes before Ryan Gaffney closed out the game with two late points.
And all this without Danny Cullen, Sean McVeigh, Paddy Hannigan and Joe Boyle - four of the county’s top hurlers.
“We are very disappointed that we did not get something out of the two games, especially Armagh the last day, but also against Mayo, the first day out,” said Donegal manager Ray Durack.
“We just didn’t get the breaks on the day. Mayo got the goals after half-time and we were in the Armagh game right up to the last few minutes.
“We are disappointed but we are very pleased with the performances the lads have put in. They have been brilliant considering we are without a third of our team and some of our more experienced players.”
Donegal host Meath, another seasoned Division 2B team on Saturday, in O’Donnell Park, throw-in 2 pm.
“Danny (Cullen), Joe (Boyle) and Paddy (Hannigan) will once again be absent this weekend. But Sean McVeigh will be back and Christopher McDermott is also fit again after missing the Armagh game.”
Sean McVeigh is currently in Hungary on a work experience and McDermott picked up a knock in training the week before the trip to the Athletic Grounds.
“It is good to have the two boys available. Sean will give is a little more bite up front and Christy can slot in at half-back or midfield.
“We are working away well and despite the two defeats the morale is good in the squad; they know they are playing well. It is just a matter of keeping the head down and getting on with it and hopefully the breaks will eventually come our way.”
Padraig Doherty is Durack’s only doubt. The corne -back picked up an injury playing for Marino College last week.
Donegal trained on Monday and last night (Wednesday) and Durack will give his men a light run out tomorrow night (Friday) after which the Donegal boss will name his starting selection.