Donegal hurlers are on the road again on Saturday as they travel to Dowdallshill in Louth to take on the locals in the Nick Rackard Qualifier Round 2.
With no safety net available, it is a must win game with the carrot being a place in the semi-final draw of the Nicky Rackard Cup where Tyrone, Fingal and Roscommon are already qualified.
Donegal had a facile win over Monaghan on Saturday round in the first round qualifier with the Farney side only turning up in O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny with 17 players.
Ray Durack’s men dismissed them with some ease, scoring 1-6 in the opening five minutes and from there it was just a matter of playing out the game and picking up no injuries.
On Saturday they will face a much tougher test when they take on Louth, who also had a facile win over Sligo in their Qualifier game on Saturday last, winning by 4-19 to 0-7.
Diarmuid Murphy was their top scorer on Saturday last with 0-8 and he was their ace marksman when Donegal and Louth met in Darver in the League back in March, hitting 1-7 on a day that Donegal prevailed by a goal, 2-15 to 1-15. That win for Donegal qualified them for the Division 3A league final in which they subsequently defeated Roscommon to take the title.
But all of that will count for little on Sunday. For their last visit to Co. Louth, Donegal were without the services of Danny Cullen, and with him on board on Saturday, Donegal can travel with some confidence that they can take another step on the road to retaining their Nicky Rackard crown.
“Louth put up a big score against Sligo last Saturday but I wouldn’t read too much into that. It could be the same as our result against Monaghan last week.
“Look, we played Louth in the league and beat them and I’ll be looking forward to that game much more than the game against Monaghan,” said Donegal manager Ray Durack.
The last meeting between Donegal and Louth in the league in March ended with Donegal winning by 2-15 to 1-15
The scorers and teams from that outing were:
Scorers Donegal Kevin Campbell (0-6, 3f), Paddy Hannihan (1-1), Ciaran Mathewson (0-3), Enda McDermott (1-1), Sean McVeigh (0-4).
Louth Diarmuid Murphy (1-7, 6f), Darren Hanrahan (0-2), Shane Callan (0-2, 1f), Gerard Smith (0-1), David Mahony (0-1), Gary Rellis (0-1), Jason Condon (0-1).
Donegal: Paul Burns; Martin McGrath, Justin McGee, Johnny Downey; Christopher McDermott, Joe Boyle , Jamsie Donnelly; Paul Sheridan, Justin Browne; Kevin Meehan, Enda McDermott, Sean McVeigh; Kevin Campbell, Paddy Hannighan, Ciaran Mathewson. Subs: Eugene Organ for K Meehan, 40 mins.
Louth: James Connolly; Conor Kerrigan, Paddy McCormack, Andrew McCrave; Cathal Ryan, Cian Hayes, Ronan Byrne; Shane Callan, Jason Condon; Gerard Smyth, Gary Rellis, David Kettle; Darren Hanrahan, Diarmuid Murphy, David Mahony. Shane Maguire for G Rellis, 48 mins; Oisin Drumm for D Hanrahan, 57 mins; Ian Kelleher for G Smyth, 67 mins.
For full coverage of Saturday’s Nicky Rackard Qualifier see Monday’s Donegal People’s Press/Donegal Democrat