Both county champions Glenswilly and Gaoth Dobhair are in a spot of bother early in the season and both face difficult assignments again this weekend as they try to get their first points on the league board.
Brian McCormick Sports Division One
Glenswilly v Kilcar
With four games played Glenswilly are still pointless and at the football of the Division One League table with three of those defeats on home soil.
Neil Gallagher was back from injury for last weekend’s games against Four Masters and St. Eunan’s and while they played with more purpose they were still a little toothless in the absence of star forward Michael Murphy.
On Sunday they face an in form Kilcar have taken to life back in the top flight like a fish to water and with Patrick McBrearrty playing well they will provide Manus McFadden and his men with yet another stern test.
However, with one Kilcar eye bound to be on the following Saturday night’s preliminary round championship meeting with Malin, and the physical nature of Glenswilly’s game the men from the south west could be vulnerable this weekend.
Naomh Conaill v Gaoth Dobhair
Gaoth Dobhair have had possibly the worst start to the season with older members struggling to remember a worse one in the club’s long and proud history.
Five games into the new league campaign they have still to registrar their first win and given Naomh Conaill’s early season form, Neil McGee and company will not be looking forward to Sunday’s trip to Davy Brennan Memorial Park.
Gaoth Dobhair will have Eamon McGee back from suspension but with James Gallagher sidelined with a hamstring injury and a number of other players nursing knocks they will be a good bit off full strength for Sunday’s joust with the champions.
Naomh Conaill are the early pacesetters and are undefeated with four wins and one draw and going on current form it is difficult to see anything other than a home win in this one.
Verdict: Naomh Conaill
St. Eunan’s v Dungloe
After mixed fortunes in their opening three games, losing two of the three, St. Eunan’s bounced back last weekend with two wins over Gaoth Dobhair and Glenswilly.
And while they are still not firing on all cylinders they have found the winning formula again, unlike Sunday’s opponents who, after an opening day win over Gaoth Dobhair, have lost to Four Masters and St. Michael’s - at home - and away to Naomh Conaill on Sunday last.
Declan Bonner’s side have been dogged by injury in recent weeks with Adrian Hanlon the latest to join the treatment table. The county man missed Sunday’s clash with Naomh Conaill with a hamstring strain having played in recent weeks with a hand injury and is likely to sit out this weekend’s visit to O’Donnell Park.
However, Cory Gallagher, who missed last weekend’s two games due to a family bereavement, will be available again.
With Rory Kavanagh and Ross Wherity working well together at midfield and Austin Marron and Conor Gibbons showing good form in front of the posts, St. Eunan’s steady progress should continue this weekend.
Verdict: St. Eunan’s
St Michael’s v Four Masters
This is an interesting tie between two teams that are showing a decent run of form with just a point separating them in the table. Four Masters are one ahead on six points with both having played four games.
Despite being without Christy Toye, through injury, St. Michael’s have being doing well and the hard work and underage success enjoyed over the past decade is beginning to pay rich dividends. Along with Naomh Conaill they are probably the two best footballing teams in the county at the moment with Four Masters not all that far behind.
All of which sets up an intriguing encounter at the Bridge. St. Michael’s are likely to be without Christy Toye, but this will be more than balanced with the fact that Karl Lacey is unlikely to feature for the visitors.
While Micheal Doherty is again splitting the posts with monotonous regularity for Four Masters, and Colm McFadden leading the St. Michael’s charge, their industry and ferocious work rate should be enough to ensure a home win.
Verdict: St. Micheal’s
McGlynn’s Restaurant Castlefin, Division Two
Cloughaneely v Sean MacCumhaill’s
The big game of the weekend in Division Two and a definite early season four pointer. It is also a game Cloughaneely will be anxious to pick up both points. Otherwise one of the pre-season favourites for promotion will find themselves being cut adrift of the promotion contenders.
They are currently two points behind third placed Sean MacCumhaill’s and three behind second placed Glenfin.
Likewise, MacCumhaill’s, after last Sunday’s defeat to Malin, cannot afford to lose any more ground on those ahead of them. Otherwise their prospects of being in the hunt for one of the two promotion spots at the end of the year could be greatly dented.
However, with Glenea’s soccer season on hold and Kevin Mulhern, Darren McGeever, Kevin McFadden and Sean Maguire concentraing solely on Gaelic this Sunday Cloughaneely may just have what it take against the Martin O’Reilly powered Finnsiders to get their promotion hopes back on track
Malin v Bundoran
With a draw and a win from their two games last weekend against Clouganeely and Sean MacCumhaill’s respectively - two of their rivals for promotion - Malin kept their push for promotion very much alive.
And with home advantage they should prove too strong for Bundoran who have less loftier ambitions and are even at this early stage fighting for survival.
Naomh Brid v Killybegs
Killybegs found last Friday night at the Banks that there are no certainties in football and were happy to escape with a draw and a share of the points from their meeting with Naomh Mhuire.
This may spell trouble for David Walsh and Naomh Brid who host the Fishermen in Trummon on Sunday. A case of forewarned being forearmed should mean that Matthew Smyth and Killybegs - the only undefeated team in the division - will be well prepared and in no mood to drop any more points.
Naomh Mhuire v Fanad Gaels
This is a big game at the bottom of the table as second from the bottom Naomh Mhuire host bottom side Fanad Gaels.
Naomh Mhuire have just one point from last Friday night’s draw with Killybegs, while Kevin ‘Cookie’ Gallagher’s Fanad Gaels are pointless from four games.
Of the two Naomh Mhuire are showing the marginally better form and with the game on home soil this game may be the springboard for Naomh Mhuire’s fight for survival.
Verdict: Naomh Mhuire
Aodh Ruadh v Urris
Aodh Ruadh should bounce back from last Sunday’s defeat away to Buncrana when they host struggling Urris in Fr. Tierney Park.
Verdict: Aodh Ruadh
Burt v Downings
Downings to make it four out of five away to Burt who are really struggling to find their form.
St Naul’s v Buncrana
Brian McCabe’s St. Naul’s to maintain their push to stay with the pace setters at home to Buncrana.
Verdict: St. Naul’s
Termon v Carndonagh
The top of the table clash with pacesetters Termon on the home ground against the sleeping giants of Inishowen football.
Naomh Colmcille vNa Rossa
Verdict: Naomh Colmcille
Letterkenny Gaels - Convoy
Verdict: Letterkenny Gaels
Moville v Robert Emmets
Verdict: Robert Emmets
Milford v Naomh Padraig (Lifford)
Verdict: Naomh Padraig