The Sporting Diary

with Sports Editor Peter Campbell

The Sporting Diary

Still on target

Donegal are still on target for an Ulster final after the win over Fermanagh, and the management have a better idea of the state of play after getting a fairly good test on Sunday.

But it is clear that there are areas of improvement needed for the tilt with Monaghan. The positives first - the pace of the younger players (and Frank McGlynn) was the main factor in the win; Michael Murphy (although the subject of a major rumour that he wasn’t going to play) controlled the second half from around midfield; the aforementioned Frank McGlynn, who is just as consistent and important as Murphy with his precision passing; the finishing of Odhran Mac Niallais. With another two weeks’ training, captain Murphy should be back to almost full fitness and we will need everybody at full pace for Breffni.

On the other side of the coin, the indiscipline with yellow and red cards is again a worry and it is not something new. Discipline has to be built from the ground up and will need to be improved against a more abrasive side like Monaghan.

Still, there was plenty to be happy about on Sunday last, but it was obvious that up to half of the starting team have room for improvement before the semi-final. Mark Anthony McGinley had a good debut in goals, and his penalty save as well as other good interventions, will give him confidence. The time between now and the Breffni Park meeting with Monaghan on Saturday week gives him time to work on his kick-out strategy.

The absence of Neil McGee for Monaghan will prove difficult, but hearing that Karl Lacey may be ready is a comfort. A better defensive plan will be needed, and at this stage, it is obvious that Michael Murphy will be needed around midfield, so a partner for Patrick McBrearty will also be needed; maybe Eoin McHugh could be moved forward. The Kilcar flyer, who is rumoured to be heading to Queen’s, Belfast, next year, if given the right supply, could give the Monaghan last line some headaches.

Just one other issue on the championship - the lack of build-up for these games. Supporters were really frustrated last week with little or no team information in the lead up to the game. County team managements have taken control of everything that is put in the public domain in the lead in to games. Maybe Joe Brolly is right.

Despite that, 15,918 turned up in MacCumhaill Park on Sunday!

Coleman plays his part

So the Euros got under way and Seamus Coleman certainly played his part as Ireland played out a 1-1 draw in their opener against the Swedes on Monday in the Stade de France.

The Killybegs man, who was not given a free role to get forward, did make an impact any time he got space on the right and did very well for the Irish goal, skipping past his man before his inch-perfect cross was volleyed home by Wes Hoolahan.

The spotlight will now turn to Bordeaux where Seamie and Ireland take on Belgium in the second game. Belgium looked an average side as they went down 2-0 to Italy in the other game in Group E on Monday night.

All activity in Killybegs and throughout Donegal and Ireland will be put on hold at 2 p.m. on Saturday once again!

Bundoran the place to visit . . . for the Lotto

It seems that if you want to have a chance to win in a GAA lotto then Bundoran is the place to visit.

In the last eight weeks, not counting various places around Donegal, people from different counties have been winners of 50 euro in the Bundoran Bunotto run by the local GAA club. Indeed, there have been more than one winner from counties such as Tyrone and the winners have gone international as well with 50 euro going to Candace Tubuchi, Kauai County, Hawaii!

So if you are passing through Bundoran any time soon, make sure you stop and pick four numbers in the local GAA lotto! If you’re in, you have a great chance to win! It seems you have at least an equal chance as any of the locals.