Donegal have one more crack at survival in Division 2B of the Allianz National Hurling league despite Saturday’s heavy defeat to Wicklow, in Newry.
Wicklow . . . . . . . . . . . 2-19
Donegal . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-9
They now face Division 3A winners, Roscommon, in a final promotion/relegation pla-off on Saturday next with the prize for the winners Division 2B hurling again next year. The losers of next weekend’s play-off will play in Division 3A next season.
Saturday’s defeat on the St Colman’s College Newry, 4G pitch was Donegal’s sixth straight defeat in the league campaign and second in successive weeks to Wicklow.
The game was switched to St Colman’s after Pairc Esler was deemed unplayable.
Donegal had lost to Wicklow six earlier in Aughrim by 2-27 to 0-17.
Donegal enjoyed a good first half and led 0-3 to 0-1 after ten minutes and were still very much on the contest at the interval as they trailed by five, 0-10 to 0-5. Lee Henderson and Ciaran Mathewson scored the points.
“We played well in the first half and we had a couple of goal chances that we did not take and we could have been even closer at half-time,” said manager Ardal McDermott.
Wicklow, who were relegated from Division 2A at the end of last season, took a firm grip on the game in the second half.
And by the time Ciaran Mathewson netted the Donegal goal,ten minutes from the end, they had pulled well clear to lead 1-16 to 1-7.
Donegal lost centre half-back Jamesie Donnelly to a second yellow card in the middle of the second period
“We had a few lads returning after long layoffs and lack of fitness told in the second half and we were also a man down from 15 minutes into the second half so it was uphill after that.
“Wicklow were the better team but if we had taken all our chances, especially in the first half, we could have been closer at the end.”
On a positive note the game marked first starts of the campaign for Jamesie Donnelly and Danny Cullen, both who will have benefited from the game ahead of next weekend’s fight for survival against Roscommon.
Donegal: Paul Burns; Padraig Doherty, Justin McGee, Mark Callaghan; Jack O’Loughlin, Jamesie Donnelly, Shane Gallen; Ciaran Mathewson, Colm Flood; Lee Henderson, Sam Doherty, Sean McVeigh; Danny Cullen, Kevin Campbell, Bernard Lafferty. Subs used: Paddy Hannigan, Niall Cleary, Gavin Browne, Paul Nelson, Paul Sheridan.