Donegal hurlers set sights on Fermanagh

Donegal hurlers set sights on Fermanagh
Tom Comack sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

Donegal and Fermanagh go head to head again this Sunday, this time in the Ulster Senior Hurling Championship Shield semi-final, in Brewster Park (Throw-in 5 pm)

Just like the footballers last weekend, Donegal enter Sunday’s tie as the firm favourites.

The sides have met once already this season in the Nicky Rackard Cup, with Donegal taking the second round spoils after emerging 3-15 to 3-11, in a high scoring clash in O’Donnell Park, back at the end of April.

Sean McVeigh, Ciaran Mathewson and Kevin Campbell scored the goals and Lee Henderson posted six points and McVeigh also hit three points for Donegal in that game.

Sean Corrigan struck 1-5, John Paul McGary 1-1 and Rory Porteous scored 1-1 for Fermanagh.

Donegal, who lost their opening Nicky Rackard game away to Armagh, followed that win over Fermanagh up with another against Monaghan in the quarter-final before being put to the sword by Mayo in the semi-final, in O’Donnell Park.

Mayo, who went on to win the Nicky Rackard Cup by beating Armagh in the final, were given a run for their money, in O’Donnell Park. The Connacht men had just four points to spare at the finish against a Donegal side that produced one of their best 70 minutes in some time.

Donegal have trained one night a week since in preparation for the Shield, which has the prize of qualifying for the Ulster Senior Hurling Championship in 2017 for the winners.

“We regrouped on the Friday night after the Mayo game and because of the busy club schedule in both football and hurling we decided to just go once a week and to keep ticking over,” said Donegal manager Ardal McDermott.

“It is difficult to prepare and to lift yourself for a second championship in the one season. The Nicky Rackard was our number one championship and the Ulster Shield is very much the number two.”

Tyrone and Monaghan meet in the other semi final.

“The chance to play in the Ulster Senior Championship next year is a good incentive to go out and do our best and first of all that begins with Fermanagh on Sunday.”

Justin McGhee (cruciate injury suffered against Mayo) and Niall Cleary (broken bone in his hand from Monaghan game that was only detected after Mayo game) are two of the regulars that will miss Sunday’s game.

Kevin Campbell (holidays) is the only other established player that is going to miss the tie.

“We have everybody else and fingers crossed with club football and hurling games on this week, hopefully we will pick up no more injuries.”

Fermanagh enjoyed a good league campaign which culminated in defeating Longford in the Division 3B final and winning promotion to Division 3A next season.

But they lost to Monaghan, Donegal, Tyrone and Louth in the Nicky Rackard Cup and were relegated to the Lory Meagher Cup next season after a very heavy 28 point play-off defeat (7-19 to 0-12) against Louth last weekend.