Donegal still favourites for semi-final place

Donegal still favourites for semi-final place

It will be a strange day for Donegal GAA supporters on Sunday next when Donegal travel to Castleblaney to take on Monaghan in the final round of games in the Allianz National League (2 p.m.)

What might be termed ‘Super Sunday’ on Sky Sports, Donegal might only need to achieve a narrow defeat to gain a place in the league semi-finals where they will join Dublin, Kerry and Roscommon.

However, there are so many permutations involved that it may take calculators to decide the final outcome. Donegal are in pole position as they have a much superior score difference.
(See permutations and table on Page 62).

While some might think that getting that semi-final spot (which will almost definitely result in another outing against Dublin) might be the short straw, Donegal manager, Rory Gallagher, is relishing another game, no matter who it is against.

The game is even more vital to Monaghan, who need to win to give themselves any chance of survival in the top flight and even a win may not be enough for them.

“Ourselves and Monaghan have a lot to play for on Sunday,” said Gallagher.

“We have come off second best against Monaghan on a good number of occasions recently. They always present a tough challenge,” said the Donegal boss, who is not overly concerned about travelling to Castleblaney.

“They haven’t played there a lot either. It is a ground that takes only 7,000 or 8,000 so there should be a good atmosphere.”

Donegal will not know until later in the week the make-up of their team, although Gallagher reported that his players had come through the club league programme on Easter Monday unscathed.

He said that Neil McGee and Frank McGlynn would be “touch and go” while he expected Paddy McGrath to be okay after coming off against Dublin on Saturday night. “He had a calf strain. Paddy was happy to stay on, we decided that it would be better to take him off as a precaution so as not to aggravate the injury,” said Gallagher, who added that he was also hopeful that Neil Gallagher would be available.

In relation to the goalkeeping position, he said they had not made a decision yet. “We had decided to give Mark Anthony (McGinley) the chance last weekend,” said Gallagher.

The Donegal and Monaghan rivalry has been fairly intense in recent times and that is likely to continue this weekend, so we can expect a fairly close encounter.