The county players might be out but Sunday sees a number of interesting fixtures in the All-County Football League.
Brian McCormick Division One
Naomh Conaill v St Michael’s
When these two met on the opening day, the football was of a high quality and the fare entertaining as the contest ended in a 0-15 to 1-12 draw. However, with county commitments denying St. Michael’s of Colm McFadden, Martin McElhinney, Peter Witherow and Christy Toye, and Naomh Conaill minus their county contingent of Anthony Thompson, Leo McLoone, Marty Boyle and Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy, both sides will be a pale shadow of what they were on opening day.
It really comes down on Sunday afternoon to who has the greater strength in depth and with Leon Thompson, Seamus Corcoran, John O’Malley, Johnny McLoone Johnny Bonner, Thomas Donoghue and Cathal Ellis to call on, Naomh Conaill would seem the least affected by the absence of county men.
Verdict: Naomh Conaill
Gaoth Dobhair v Dungloe
On the face of it, with Dungloe only losing Adrian Hanlon and Gaoth Dobhair down Neil and Eamon McGee, again due to county commitments, it would seem a case of advantage Dungloe in this one.
Gaoth Dobhair are further hit with the news that Peter McGee, who was due to get a run out for Donegal against Mayo at the weekend, will miss the game with a knee injury.
Dungloe go into the game low in confidence after losing their last four league games and Declan Bonner’s men are going to have to step it up in a big way if they are to take anything out of their encounter against Kevin Cassidy and company, who will themselves be buoyed up by their County Gaeltacht success at the weekend.
Verdict: Gaoth Dobhair
Ardara v Glenswilly
Ardara had two points to spare when these two sides met in the opening game in Pairc Naomh Columba. Glenswilly were without county skipper Micheal Murphy, but had big Neil Gallagher and Gary McFadden.
Gallagher and McFadden will be absent on Sunday for a Glenswilly team who are down on their luck and still looking for their first win of the season.
Ardara will be without Paddy McGrath and will be anxious to regain that winning feeling again after losing on their last couple of outings in the league and also suffering a surprise defeat by Fanad Gaels in the semi-final of the Gaeltacht on Sunday in Gaoth Dobhair.
St Eunan’s v Kilcar
After losing two games on the trot to Naomh Conaill and St. Michael’s, St. Eunan’s have turned the corner and won their last four games against Gaoth Dobhair, Ardara, Dungloe and Four Masters and are showing a decent run of form. They also beat Kilcar well in Towney in the opening game and while Rory Kavanagh, who produced a man of the match performance in that one, will miss Sunday’s game, they should have too much for Kilcar who will be without the fire power of Patrick McBrearty and work rate of Mark McHugh.
Verdict: St. Eunan’s
McGlynn’s Restaurant Castlefin Division Two
Sean MacCumhaills v Fanad Gaels
Sean MacCumhaills are one of the form teams in Division Two with Martin O’Reilly the main marksman in their six games to date. However, Pat McNabb will not have the young county ace on Sunday.
Fanad, who are struggling at the wrong end of the table, go into the game boosted by their County Gaeltacht semi-final win over Ardara and a fine performance against Gaoth Dobhair in the final.
It could be an anxious afternoon for MacCumhaills followers.
Verdict: Sean MacCumhaills
Bundoran v Cloughaneely
Bundoran and Cloughaneely are another two sides still struggling to find their form and in grave need of points.
Cloughaneely, who were relegated at the end of last season and are hoping to bounce back, need to start picking up points, having only registered five from a possible ten so far.
And with Kevin Mulhern, Darren McGeever and Kevin McFadden tied up with Glenea United on Sunday, they may find Bundoran a little too hot to handle.
Killybegs v Glenfin
The tie of the weekend in Division One as pace setters Killybegs host second placed Glenfin. Killybegs, with five wins and a draw, are unbeaten with Glenfin just three points adrift with just one defeat having played one game less.
While Joe McBrearty has a number of injury concerns, most notably county minor Hugh McFadden, they will still be favourites to maintain their winning run against a Glenfin side minus Frank McGlynn.
Malin v Naomh Brid
It is a long trip from Ballintra to Malin and without David Walsh, it is one Naomh Brid will not relish, especially against a Malin outfit that gave a good account of themselves against Kilcar last Saturday evening in the championship. Malin were without Anthony Kelly against Kilcar (back injury) and are likely to be without the former County U-21 again on Sunday.
Centra Division Three
Downings v Naomh Naille
Verdict: St. Naul’s
Buncrana v Red Hughs
Carndonagh v Aodh Ruadh
Urris v Naomh Padraig-Muff
Verdict: Naomh Paraig
Marley Coach Division Four
Na Rossa v Naomh Padraig
Verdict: Na Rossa
Robert Emmets v Naomh Colmcille
Verdict: Robert Emmets
Convoy v Naomh Ultan
Moville v Letterkenny Gaels
Marley Coach Division Five
Naomh Columba v Pettigo
Verdict: Naomh Columba
Ardara v St Eunan’s