Donegal go head to head with the Orchard County

Donegal go head to head with the Orchard County
Donegal are hoping to raid the Orchard when they face Amagh in the Athletic Grounds on Sunday, in round two of the Allianz Hurling League.

Donegal are hoping to raid the Orchard when they face Amagh in the Athletic Grounds on Sunday, in round two of the Allianz Hurling League.

Like all games for Donegal, up in Division 2B for the first time, Sunday’s clash is another crunch tie in pursuit of precious league points.

A little understrength last weekend in their opening game against Mayo in O’Donnell Park, Donegal went down by eight points to the more seasoned and experienced Westerners.

After holding their own in the first half and only two points down at half-time, Donegal fell away in the second half as Mayo emerged the 3-14 to 1-12 winners.

“I have looked back at the DVD and for most of the game we were every bit as good as Mayo. The two goals they scored early in the second half was the difference, both came from turnovers. We were only a point down when they got the first goal and they pulled away after the second,” said Ray Durack, the Donegal manager.

“There were a lot positives to come out of the game and after all it was our first outing on grass. Due to the bad weather we had been training on a 5-aside pitch which was far from ideal.

“We had a number of lads making their debuts and I thought they did very well and made the step no bother and they will have learned from the experience.”

Setanta’s Marty Callaghan and Aodh Ruadh’s Eddie Lynch were the debut boys and both played well with Lynch netting the Donegal goal.

Paul Sheridan and Enda McDermott, along with Niall Cleary, who replaced the injured Joe Boyle after 30 minutes, also turned in big performances. Cleary from Shinrone, in Offaly is a new addition to the squad.

He is likely to deputise for Boyle again this Sunday as the Burt man continues to struggle with a groin injury.

“Joe has been bothered with a groin injury since before Christmas and he aggravated it again last Sunday. So the only solution is rest, so Joe is probably going to be out for a the next couple of weeks.”

Donegal will also once again be without long term injured Danny Cullen and Paddy Hannigan, while Sean McVeigh is on work experience in Hungary.

But on the good news front Setanta’s Justin Browne has returned to training having been sidelined with injury.

Armagh suffered a first day defeat against Down in Ballycran, but not before giving the Mourne men a run for their money. Down produced a late surge to come from a point down with ten minutes remaining to win by seven points.

“I wouldn’t read much into that game; all we are doing this week is about our own game and learning from our mistakes last Sunday and work on the positives.

“We don’t fear Armagh. It is just a matter of going out and producing a performance. If we get the performance I feel we are in with a good chance.”

The Donegal team is due to be named after training on Friday night.