Donegal are undefeated and top of the table going into their final game of the Lidl Ladies NFL Division Two against Cavan, in Tír Chonaill Park on Sunday. (2 pm)
Micheál Naughton’s ladies have already booked their place in the last four and are in the race for promotion to Division One next season. All four semi-final places have already been determined ahead of this weekend’s programme of games with Clare, Cavan and Westmeath also into the last four.
Donegal top the table on 18 points from their six games with Clare in second place and Cavan in third on 15 points each from five wins from their six outings. Clare are ahead of Cavan by virtue of their win over the Breffni ladies.
Westmeath are back in fourth place, on 12 points, and nine points clear of the fifth team Kildare, and are guaranteed one of the semi-final places. Westmeath are away to Clare this Sunday in their last game.
The semi-final pairings are first playing fourth and second playing third.
“It is all about finishing places this weekend for the four counties,” explained Donegal manager Micheál Naughton.
“ We are in pole position but it is still all down to Sunday’s games and how the game between ourselves and Cavan,”
“We need at least a draw to take top position. A Cavan win would see them join us on 18 points but would take the number one position on the head-to-head rule.”
A Clare win over Westmeath would also see the Banner County join Donegal on 18 points (should Donegal be defeated), but because Donegal defeated Clare, Donegal would stay above them.
“A draw may do, but we are going all out to win and maintain our winning run. Winning can be a habit and we want to maintain that habit and to push on and win promotion,” the Donegal boss insisted.
Donegal will once again be without the injured Roisin Curran and the exam-tied Kate Keaney. Curran suffered a broken bone in her arm playing for UCD in the O’Connor Cup finals and Keaney is studying for her final exams at the University of Limerick.
However, Shannon McGroddy returned to training last week after a long layoff with injury and is back in the running for a place in the starting 15.
Donegal defeated Kildare last Sunday, 4-18 to 0-6, with the full forward line of Eilish Ward, Yvonne McMonagle and Geraldine McLaughlin posting 4-10 of the total.
Former All-Star McMonagle scored 2-4, McLaughlin hit 1-5 and Ward chipped in with 1-1 while Katy Herron, Karen Guthrie and Jade O’Donnell posted 0-2 each and Niamh Hegarty and Rosin Friel also got their names on the scoresheet with a point each.
Cavan have enjoyed a good campaign with their only points dropped against Clare. They have made great strides in recent seasons and are championship contenders in Ulster.
However, with home advantage and the firepower up front, Donegal should maintain the winning habit and a seventh straight win.