Malin v MacCumhaill's
For the second year in-a-row Sean MacCumhaill's are away to Malin in the first round of the championship. It was Malin 1-13, Sean MacCumhaills 0-16, in last year's first round clash.
Terence Colhoun and Anthony Kelly have replaced Liam ‘Baker’ Bradley as joint managers in Malin. Damien Devenney has taken over from Brendan Dunleavy at MacCumhaill Park.
Martin O’Reilly has missed MacCumhaill's last three games with a knee injury. However the expectation is that the county man will be fit to take his place.
“This is one of the most difficult games to call of all the games,” said Patrick Gallagher
“MacCumhaill's were on a very good run in the league up to last weekend when they lost to their neighbours.
“They had been playing very well up to that and it may be only a blip and it could the wake up call they needed heading to Malin.
“They have been without Martin O’Reilly for their last few games but they will need him if they are to be in with a chance of taking something out of their trip to Malin.
“Connolly Park can be a real fortress and Malin are difficult to beat on their home ground. They have also taken out a few big scalps in the championship in recent years and with so many of them playing soccer they are probably a better championship team than a league team.
“The soccer season should be nearly finished at this stage and I expect Malin to be near at full strength and for that reason and with Martin O’Reilly having little game time in recent weeks, I feel Malin may shade it.”
Malin were in Division One last season but have dropped down to Division Two this season and are having a mixed season with three wins and four defeats while MacCumhaill's good run in the second division came to an end on Saturday night with a somewhat surprise defeat by second from bottom team Glenfin. That was only their second defeat in seven outing but means their place at the top of the table has been taken by Four Masters.
The sides have met already met in the league. That was the weekend before last with MacCumhaill's emerging three point winners, 1-12 to 1-9, after a tough hard encounter in MacCumhaill Park.
Glenfin v Naomh Muire
Glenfin and Naomh Muire prop up the Division Two table with Naomh Muire on the bottom with just one win from seven outings. Glenfin’s win over MacCumhaill’s on Saturday evening was their second and takes them to four points in the table and level with St Naul’s.
Naomh Muire will have Jack O’Brien back from county duty but they will still be without Paul ‘Yank’ Boyle, playing with Letterkenny Rovers, in Saturday night’s Intermediate Cup final.
“This is another all second division clash and two teams that are struggling at the bottom of the table though Glenfin had a good win against MacCumhaill's at the weekend.
“Glenfin also struggled last season and just avoided relegation. They have been without Frank McGlynn for most of their games this season and Frank is a big player for them.
“They will certainly be hoping he is fit for this Sunday.
“Naomh Muire have had a very poor start to the season and have won only one game. They would have been expected to do better but they are another of those clubs that have been badly hit with injuries.
“They were without Sean ‘Yank’ Boyle their best forward for a good few games and his brother Paul is playing soccer with Letterkenny Rovers.
“The good news for them is that Sean was back last weekend or the game against St Naul's and will have benefited from the game after a lengthy layoff.
“Glenfin will need Frank McGlynn back and playing well if they are to be in with a chance and likewise Naomh Muire are going to have to get a big game out of Sean ‘Yank’ Boyle if they are to be in with a chance of getting the result.
“It is a really difficult game to call given the poor form of both going into the game but given that Glenfin are going into the tie on the back of a good win last weekend against MacCumhaills and they are also are at home which is worth a few scores, tips the scales in favour of a home win but not by much."
Frank McGlynn is expected to be back for Glenfin, who have been greatly boosted this season by the return of Paddy O’Connor. The former county minor and U-21 has added greatly to the Glenfin attack and he has turned in a number of man of the match performances so far in the league.