Donegal get one last crack at survival in Division 2B of the Allianz National Hurling League when they face Roscommon, in a promotion/relegation play-off on Saturday, in Ballina (Throw-in 5 pm)
That's the view of Donegal manager Ardal McDermott, despite the fact that they go into Saturday evening’s playoff on the back of six straight defeats, five in the league series as well as last Saturday’s relegation play-off defeat by Wicklow.
Wicklow won that game 2-19 to 1-9, their second successive victory over the men from the north west. Six days earlier Wicklow had consigned Donegal to a 2-17 to 0-17 defeat in Aughrim.
“The reality is we are exactly in the same position as we were this time last year,” said the Donegal boss.
Donegal played Tyrone in a promotion/relegation play-off last season after losing a first round relegation play-off to Mayo and having lost all their games in the league series.
It took two games to separate Donegal and Tyrone, before Donegal prevailed to retain their status.
“The play-off was the game we targeted from day one and although we would have looked at Mayo and Armagh as possible wins, the play-off was always looked on as our best chance of survival.
“I know Roscommon are on a good run and unbeaten in Division Three and are also the Nicky Rackard champions from last year. But we feel that we are on a level with Roscommon and while we accept that it will not be easy, we feel we are good enough to get the result.”
Donegal have been ravaged by injury all season and were forced for most of the campaign to line out without what could be considered seven to eight first choice players.
There has been some relief on the injury front with Jamesie Donnelly, Danny Cullen and Kevin Campbell all having their first starts since the first round against Wicklow, in last Saturday’s play-off in Newry.
However, Donegal will be without Ronan McDermott (broken hand) and experienced defender Marty McGrath.
“This weekend’s game is coming too soon for Ronan and Marty, but we do we expect to have them back for the championship at the end of the month.”
Donegal and Roscommon last met in the league in Division 3A in 2014 with Roscommon claiming the points in a 3-11 to 0-15 scoreline, down in Athleague.