Donegal are the raging hot favourites for Sunday night’s Electric Ireland Ulster Minor Championship quarter final meeting with Antrim
That is the opinion of Hugh McGettigan, the Antrim manager, son of Antrim GAA legendary figure Sean McGettigan. Sean was a member of the committee that purchased and developed Casement Park and was also well known in his role right throughout Ulster in the promotion of Scór. He was also the BBC’s first GAA reporter.
The Antrim manager said this week that Donegal are not only favourites for the Ulster championship but one of the favourites for All-Ireland honours.
"We will be coming up against one of the two favourites for the All-Ireland minor title and this underlines the enormity of the task we face," he said.
McGettigan has guided his young charges to 4-10 to 2-9 win over Fermanagh in the preliminary round in Brewster Park. They also defeated Tyrone in the Ulster Minor League.
Michael Hagan, Eoin Nagle, Dermot McErlain and Kevin Small scored the goals for Antrim against Fermanagh.
"It was always in our thinking that we might be meeting Donegal somewhere along the line and I suppose it's now a case of us meeting them sooner rather than later so that's the challenge for us."
Team captain and centre half-back, Patrick McCormick, was a member of the St Pat’s, Maghera team beaten by St Brendan’s, Killarney, in this year’s All-Ireland Colleges final in Croke Park.
McCormick, wing-back Patrick Finnegan, full-forward Kevin Small, Michael Hagan and Liam Quinn are the men to watch on this Antrim team.
"Donegal beat us by 10 points in the league, they were down to 14 players for a spell and they did not have their best player Niall O'Donnell on duty so it's going to take a massive effort if we are to get the better of them in the championship.”
Donegal and Antrim last met in the minor championship two years ago in the semi-final in Clones.
Donegal won that game 2-19 to 1-10 with Ethan O’Donnell and Jamie Brennan getting the goals with points from Lorcan Connor (9), Brennan (4), Stephen McBrearty (2) and one each from Michael Carroll, Caolan McGonagle and Cian Mulligan.
Donegal went on to beat Armagh in the Ulster final; Roscommon in the All-Ireland quarter-final; Dublin in the semi-final to reach a first ever All-Ireland minor final. However, they lost in the final against Kerry.
Kieran Gillespie, Eoghan ‘Bán’ Gallagher, Caolan McGonagle, Lorcan Connor, Michael Carroll and Stephen McBrearty have all since graduated to the Donegal senior squad.
Danny Rodgers, the goalkeeper, was also in the senior squad for the Dr McKenna Cup and the Allianz Football League but has since departed the panel.