The meeting of Colaisti Inis Eoghain and St Eunan’s in the Danske Bank sponsored Rannafast Cup quarter-finals has generated a lot of interest among Donegal GAA supporters.
The two rivals go head to head for a semi-final place in Hibernian Park in Burt on Wednesday afternoon, throw-in time 4pm. St Eunan’s, who have qualified for the quarterfinals for the first time in almost three decades, will start as strong favourites for the game.
In their first year together they won the Ulster Colleges Corn Colmcille Cup in B competitions and after moving up a grade the following year they reached the semi-final of the Corn na nOg Cup.
There, they inflicted a heavy defeat on Colaisti Inis Eoghain on the way, before losing to eventual winners, St Pat’s from Cavan. Last season they reached the quarter-finals of the Brock Cup, but again fell to the Cavan outfit.
They topped Group D in the qualifying stages of the Rannafast, with impressive victories over St Mary’s Magherafelt and St Patrick’s Armagh thanks to a late goal from Michael Miller and six points from David Tyrell.
Managed by Glenswilly man Gary McDaid, they have a large panel to choose from with players such as Darragh McWalters and Sean McDonagh strong at the back, while Christopher Flanagan, Michael Miller, Conor Morrisson and the reliable Tyrell sure to play a key part in attack
Colaisti Inis Eoghain who are managed by Gary Duffy, are relative newcomers to Ulster Colleges competitions and the current squad are the first to come through the process of developing schools football in Inishowen.
They had sensational start in 2010 when they shocked St Pat’s from Maghera in their opening game, but that heavy defeat at the hands of St Eunan’s in O’Donnell Park still hurts.
They performed well last year in the Brock Cup, making it to the Shield quarter-final, before losing to Abbey CBS. This season they started well in the Rannafast with good victories over Our Lady’s Castleblaney and St Colman’s Newry, before losing to an impressive Omagh CBS in their final group game, played in Buncrana.
In defence Peter Doherty, Stephen O’Donnell and Darren Gallagher all look impressive, while Georgie Kelly, Tony McClenagahan, Sean McHugh, Caolan Mailey and John Campbell could be key players in midfield and attack.
Quite a number of players on both sides have already been selected at U-15 and U-16 County Development teams and it is fair to say that several of those will be pushing hard for places on the Donegal minor team in two years time.
Ulster Colleges competitions are a great way of developing such players, so a good game is envisaged on Wednesday afternoon with the result hanging very much in the balance.
St Eunan’s: S Dafflan, M Friel, D McWalters, S McDonagh, O Shiels, M Patton, C O Boyle, P Diver, D Tyrell, N O Donnell, M Miller, R Toner, C Morrisson, R Carr, C Flanagan, C McDaid, O Hilley, Ciaran Maloney, Kieran McPherson, Jason Quinn, Cormac Callaghan, Ryan Rainey, Caolan O Donnell, Ronan Dorrian, Cormac Cannon, Owen McFadden, Chris Carr, Kevin Grant, Caolan Toye.
Colaisti Inis Eoghain: Jamie Barr, Tommy Byrne, Peter Doherty, Stephen O Donnell, Ultan Doherty, Darren Gallagher, Darragh Browne, Georgie Kelly, Tony McCleneghan, Mark Coyle, Sean McHugh, Christopher McLaughlin, Caolan Mailey, John Campbell, Joshua Lafferty, Christopher McCormick, Ronan Hartin, Ryan Doherty, Danny McCarron, John Collins, Jonathan McDaid, Ryan McLaughlin, Phil Brennan,