Donegal and Clare go head to head in a top of the table clash in Division Two of the Lidl Ladies League on Sunday in Ballyshannon. (Throw-in 2pm)
Donegal are on top of the Division Two table on 12 points with four straight wins from their four games so far in the competition. Clare are also on full points from their four games but Donegal are in pole position by virtue of a better score average. Donegal are on +50 with Clare on +39.
Cavan are in third place on 9 points with Westmeath next on six points to complete the top four.
With just two rounds of games remaining Donegal, Clare and Cavan look set to make up three of the semi-final pairings with Westmeath likely to complete the list. Ahead of Sunday’s showdown Donegal and Clare have, more or less, secured their semi-final places and certainly the victors on Sunday evening will be able to turn their thoughts to the knockout stages.
“We have more or less qualified for the semi-final as things stand but now it is a matter of pushing on and topping the table,” said Donegal manager, Micheál Naughton.
“The top team plays the fourth placed team and the second and third placed teams meet in the other semi-final so there is an obvious advantage to finish top.”
Donegal chalked up their fourth straight win away against Meath last Sunday while Clare accounted for Cavan.
Donegal beat Meath by nine points, 3-17 to 3-8 while Clare had six points to spare as they ran out 3-6 to 0-9 winners over Cavan in Clare.
“Clare’s win over Cavan was something of a surprise, because I fancied Cavan to win that game. Cavan are a good side so that was a big win for Clare and indicates that they are good side too and they will be no pushover.”
Donegal were without the injured trio of Kate Keaney, Deirdre Foley and Amber Barrett last weekend in Meath.
And Naughton is planning this week to be without Keaney and Foley. It will be another week or two before Kate (Keaney) and Deirdre (Foley) are ready. However, he is a little more hopeful of having goal scoring ace Barrett.
“Amber (Barrett) is back training again but we won’t know until after we have a run out on Saturday if she will be good to go or sit on the bench at least.”
The one thing that this campaign has shown is that Donegal have strength in depth and with Karen Guthrie, Ciara and Niamh Hegarty, Yvonne McGonagle, Grainne Houston and Geraldine McLaughlin in their line-up they are a serious side.
After Sunday, Donegal have two games remaining, away to Kildare on Sunday week and at home to Cavan.