“They are the team we tried to avoid, but we have nothing to lose,” says Termon team manager, Francie Friel, ahead of their clash with favourites, Kilcar, in MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey on Saturday evening. (8.30 throw-in).
“Listen, Termon will give it their best shot. We are facing the best team in Donegal at the moment, along with Naomh Conaill. We will see what we can do (against them),” says Friel.
The sides met last year in the group stages in Towney when Kilcar prevailed by 3-12 to 1-8 but Termon still survived to make the quarter-finals
This year, once again, while not going well in the league, Termon have performed much better in the championship, putting it up to Naomh Conaill in the first half in Glenties with the loss of Ricky Gallagher upsetting their rhythm. But wins over Gaoth Dobhair and Four Masters have them deservedly in the last eight.
“We are a proud club. We will give it our best shot and see if it’s good enough. It’s important that we stay in the game for as long as we can,” said Friel, who is sweating on the fitness of Aidan Sweeney (ankle) and Nathan McElwaine (broken finger).
“Nathan has been our centre half-back all year and has been very influential and would be a big loss.”
Kilcar have had an easy passage to the quarter-final, with big wins over St. Michael’s and Killybegs after drawing with St. Eunan’s. They have been amassing big scores in league and championship and consequently will go into the game as raging hot favourites.
This fact is acknowledged by veteran Michael Hegarty, but he says they will not be taking Termon for granted. “They ran Naomh Conaill close in a quarter-final, but we are looking forward to the game,” said Hegarty, who was critical of the fixtures committee for cramming the championship into a few weeks.
“I would hope that next year they would look after the clubs a little better. It is very unfair on clubs to cram the senior championship into such a short space.”
Kilcar, this year under the management of Martin McHugh, have been sweeping all before them in league and championship. The scoring power of the McBreartys and McHughs allied to the contribution of Ciaran McGinley alongside Hegarty at midfield, has made them a potent force. They even have back-up in the scoring stakes in the likes of the McCleans, Conor Doherty and Aodhan McGinley.
Hegarty agrees that Kilcar have been going well this year. “We have a lot of good young footballers and we would hope to be in with a chance to make another step along the way.
“Termon are a good footballing side and they have a small pick, like ourselves. For years we weren’t able to compete in senior championship. Thankfully, we are now competing and we will see how it goes,” says a cautious Hegarty.
The former Donegal star has been around a while and obviously would like to finish his career by getting his hands on the Dr. Maguire.
The gap (23 years) is well short of Mayo’s wait for Sam and barring an avalanche of own goals, it would seem that Kilcar will be in the draw for the semi-final on Sunday evening.