Four Masters and Cloughaneely Reserve footballers take centre stage on Sunday when they go toe to toe in the Donegal Senior Reserve Championship final in Sean MacCumhaill Park (throw in 1.45 pm)
The game is the curtain raiser to the RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta Senior Championship final meeting of St. Eunan’s and Naomh Conaill.
In the case of Four Masters, they are bidding for a fourth reserve title and are appearing in their third decider in-a-row.
The side managed by Damien Dunnion,are defeated finalists from last year having won the championship for a third time the year before with victory over Gaoth Dobhair.
Their other two triumphs were in 2000 and 2001. Ironically, in the 2000 final they defeated Cloughaneely after a replay while the following year, 2001, they proved too strong for St. Eunan’s.
That 2000 final was the one and only reserve final appearance for Cloughaneely. Under the guidance of Joe Kelly, they are aiming to add what has proven an elusive piece of silverware to the club’s trophy cabinet.
Both sides have played five games to make it to Sunday’s final with both having taken to play-offs in the first round.
Cloughaneely finally saw off the challenge of a strong Division One side, Dungloe in their play-off before seeing off two more top tier teams, Gaoth Dobhair in the quarter-final and a fancied St. Eunan’s in the semi-final.
“It is a very young team and ten of the starting team are minors and U-21, so it is a young side and a group of players we have great hope for in the future. It is a great opportunity for the lads to get to play in Sean MacCumhaill Park on county final day.” said Cloughaneely manager Joe Kelly.
Four Masters have left Ardara, St. Michael’s and Naomh Conaill in their slipsteam on the way to Sunday’s showdown. With the bulk of last year’s team still playing, Damien Dunnion and his backroom team of Kevin Sinclair and Michael Martin are anxious to make up for the disappointment of losing last year’s final to Kilcar.
“It is great to be back in the final again. That was the aim at the start of the year and the boys have put in the work and hopefully now that we are back in the final we hope to make up for losing last year,” said Damien Dunnion.
Cloughaneely will be without midfielder Brendan Mulhern, who emigrated to London last Monday and the suspended Donal Curran. But otherwise Joe Kelly has the rest of the squad available to him.
Damien Dunnion has reported a clean bill of health for Four Masters.
Cloughaneely panel: Shaun McClafferty; Sean Gallagher, Eamon Curran, Martin Ferry, Kevin Scanlon, Sean Sweeney, Lee O’Brien; Michael McCausland, Darren Ferry, Paddy Cannon, Shaun McBride, John Harley, Paul Sweeney, John Fitzgerald, Michael McGinley, Ciaran Boyce, Anthony Brady, Kevin Doohan, Darren Whoriskey, James Gallagher, Shane Ferry, Sean Coll, Cillian Gallagher, Stephen Rodden, Brian McElroy, Brendan Mulhern.
Four Masters panel: Benny Cassidy, Sean Martin, Leo McHugh, Barry Farragher, John Boyle, Gareth Britton, Shane Gillespie, Pauric Harvey, Barry O’Donnell, Dillon Muldoon, Charlie Gallagher, Declan McMonagle, Rory O’Donnell,Kevin Breslin, Dillon Ward, Conor McDaid, James McDaid, Ryan Earley, Declan Bushell, Paul McIntyre, Shane Browne,Enda Bonner, Conor O’Donnell, Daniel Harley, Stephen Graham, Jason Carr, Emmet Doogan, Zak Balogan.
Paths to the final
Ardara 0-12, Four Masters 3 - 5
Four Masters 2-8, Ardara 1-12
Four Masters 2-9, Ardara 2-8
St. Michael’s 0-6, Four Masters 1-8
Four Masters 0-6, Naomh Conaill 1-1
Dungloe 2-10, Cloughaneely 0-10
Cloughaneely 2-7, Dungloe 3-3
Cloughaneely 2-10, Dungloe 0-9
Cloughaneely 3-10, Gaoth Dobhair 0-10
Cloughaneely 0-10, St. Eunan’s 1-6