The Donegal Vocational Schools side have the chance to lift further honours when they contest the Ulster final this afternoon in Brewster Park, Enniskillen where they take on Cavan (throw-in 1 p.m.)
The game was originally scheduled under lights at 7 p.m. but was changed because of the danger of weather conditions making travelling difficult.
Donegal, under manager Joe McKelvey, are defending the title they won last year and are, in fact, chasing a third Ulster title in-a-row.
The gloss has been taken off the competition as there is no longer an All-Ireland series, but Donegal are very happy that the Ulster Vocational body decided to keep the intercounty competition alive in the province, although they would have been happier if all counties took part.
As it was, five counties participated - Down, Monaghan, Cavan, Tyone and Donegal. Down defeated Tyrone in the only quarter-final while last week Donegal defeated Down in comprehensive fashion and Cavan overcame Monaghan in the other semi-final.
Tonight’s decider is a repeat of last year’s final when Donegal won by 3-8 to 1-6, but it is a very changed Donegal team with just Cathal McGettigan and Willie Gillespie of the team that took the field in that final available to Joe McKelvey.
It will be a unique final in that the it will be the second Ulster final in the same calendar year. Last season’s decider was held earlier this year in February at Cardinal McCrory Park, Donaghmoyle (the home ground of Errigal Ciaran).
“We are hopeful that all the players will be fit. There are school games going ahead today (Tuesday) and we will be keeping our fingers crossed that the players come through unscathed,” said Donegal manager, Joe McKelvey, who said that Carrick VS were playing PCC and Rosses were taking on Carndonagh in vital school games.
The Donegal manager is expecting a much stiffer challenge than his side faced in the semi-final against Down. Three goals in the first 11 minutes of that game in Killyclogher last Thursday left the game something of a non-contest.
“You would have to imagine that Cavan will be a lot better than what Down produced the last day. When you think about that game, if you take the three early goals out of it, there wasn’t that much between the sides,” said Joe, who will be using that to motivate his side to retain their Ulster title.
“I would be expecting a very tough game from Cavan. They have a big lad, Buchanan in the middle of the field who gave us a lot of trouble last year and he will be even better not that he’s a year older.
“I would be hopeful - I would never say that I was confident going out with any team. I would be very hopeful and will be trying to get the lads to perform to the top of their ability. If they can do that they will be very close,” said McKelvey.
Last year’s win was Donegal’s 13th Ulster title and McKelvey and his team will be hoping to sad title No. 14 in Brewster Park this evening.
Likely Donegal team: Luke Kelly (Finn Valley); Owen Scally (Rosses), Shaun McLaughlin (Glenties), Jack Scally (Rosses); Lee O’Brien (PCC), Conor McCormack (Carndonagh), Aaron Dalton (St. Columba’s); Patrick Gillespie (Rosses), Cathal McGettigan (Loreto, Milford); Cian Mulligan (Gaoth Dobhair), Willie Gillespie (Deele), Conor Harkin (Crana); Lorcan Connors (Loreto, Milford), Dara O’Connor (Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana), David McCarron (Rosses).
Rest of panel: Joe Alvey (Abbey VS); Jason Marley (Ballinamore); Niall Carbery, Eoghan Gallagher (St. Catherine’s); Proinnsias Ó Gallchóir (Gaoth Dobhair}; Kevin Mc Gettigan, Conor Gallagher, Cillian Boyle (St. Columba’s, Glenties); Jack Quinn (Deele College); Conor Cairns, Martin Gallagher, Peter Blake (St. Columba’s); Joe Blaney (Mulroy College).