Donegal’s footballers are getting no time to lick their wounds following Sunday’s bruising All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin in Croke Park.
Up to 11 of Jim McGuinness’s squad will be back in action this weekend and playing in crunch championship game for their clubs while most of the remainder of the panel will be involved in All County Football League action.
Seven of the players who saw action against the Dubs - Michael Murphy, Rory Kavanagh, Mark McHugh, Michael Hegarty, Patrick McBrearty and Paddy McGrath - are all involved in winner-take-all ties in the Senior Championship. Ryan Bradley is in Intermediate football action.
County skipper Murphy and Kavanagh will go head to head in the quarter-final replay meeting of Glenswilly and St. Eunan’s and they will be joined by squad members Neil Gallagher (Glenswilly) and Kevin Rafferty (St. Eunans).
The Kilcar trio of Mark McHugh, Michael Hegarty and Patrick McBrearty will go toe to toe with Paddy McGrath and Ardara in the last of the county senior quarter-finals.
Ryan Bradley will be on board for the all Inishowen Intermediate championship clash of Buncrana and Urris, while Thomas McKinley, Naomh Colmcille and Stephen Griffin, St. Naul’s, will also see Intermediate action with their respective clubs. Naomh Colmcille host Naomh Mhuire in a do or die second leg clash for McKinley and Naomh Colmcille, while Griffin and St. Naul’s face Aodh Ruadh in a first leg clash. Both games are fixed for Saturday evening.
“We would have liked to have put on a round of league games to allow the county boys ease their way back into the club scene after playing in such a high profile and demanding game on Sunday,” said CCC secretary Ed Byrne.
“But due to the tight schedule and having to have senior champions for October 16th and the preliminary round in Ulster our hands are really tied and we have no choice but to go ahead with the games this weekend.
“We are playing the Intermediate games on Saturday night and due to the fact it is the hurling final on Sunday we are staggering the times of the two senior games with the first one at 2 pm and the other at 5.30 pm.
The eagerly awaited St. Eunan’s versus Glenswilly replay is fixed for Sean MacCumhaill Park, with a throw in time of 2 pm with the South West derby clash of Kilcar and Ardara fixed for Fintra. Throw in time for this one is 5.30 pm.
Given they are working to such a tight deadline, the CCC have already put the county senior final back a week until Sunday October 2nd, from the intended date of September 25th. They may also have to play the senior semi-finals on Saturday September 17th, the day before the All-Ireland final.
The CCC secretary said that he had been informed verbally that the Ulster Council were willing to put the Ulster club championship back to accommodate Donegal if they had defeated Dublin on Sunday and had qualified for the All-Ireland.