Race for Dr Maguire Cup heats up this weekend

Race for Dr Maguire Cup heats up this weekend
Tom Comack sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

The race for the Donegal Senior Championship heats up this weekend with the playing of the two semi-finals in the Michael Murphy Sport & Leisure sponsored championship.

Naomh Conaill, the champions; Kilcar, Glenswilly and Malin are the four teams chasing down places in the October 16th final.

The meeting of Naomh Conaill and Kilcar, a repeat of last year’s semi-final won rather comfortably by Naomh Conaill, is the most eagerly awaited of the two semi-finals.

This game is in MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey, on Sunday evening, throw in 6pm.

For the big game, Kilcar’s prospects have suffered a serious setback with the loss of experienced defender Barry Shovlin to injury.

Better known as a corner-back, Shovlin has made a seamless move to half-back this season.

He will miss the game due to a leg injury picked up in the closing seconds of Kilcar’s one sided 0-19 to 0-4 win over Termon.

He is currently in a cast and will be sidelined for the next eight weeks.

Manager Martin McHugh will be hoping that Pauric Carr, who missed last Saturday’s win over Termon with a calf injury, is fit to return. Carr, a regular corner-back, is a ready made replacement for Shovlin, if he is passed fit.

Other than a few bumps and bruises from Saturday night’s bruising encounter with Termon, Kilcar have a clean bill of health.

Martin Regan and Martin Doherty, Naomh Conaill’s joint managers, are again planning this week without one of their star younger brigade, Ethan O’Donnell. O’Donnell, who had been featuring at midfield and centre half-back, suffered a broken bone in his shin in the second round game against Four Masters and is believed to be around two weeks away from a return. Naomh Conaill have no other injury concerns.

Earlier on Sunday afternoon Glenswilly and Malin go toe to toe in O’Donnell Park.(Throw in 2.30pm)

Glenswilly, with Michael Murphy, Neil Gallagher and Gary ‘Copper’ McFadden in top form, are very much the favourites in this tie.

The 2013 champions are understood to have a fully fit squad while Malin are again sweating on the fitness of Anthony Kelly (who is joint manager with Terence Colhoun) and his midfield partner Christopher McLaughlin. Kelly and McLaughlin have been struggling in recent weeks to shake off hamstring injuries.

Both games are preceded by the two semi-finals in the Senior B Championship.

In O’Donnell Park, Ardara and Gaoth Dobhair clash in the first of those semi-finals.(1 pm)

Naomh Conaill and St Eunan’s meet in the second of the semi-finals in MacCumhaill Park. (4.30pm).

There are also two semi-finals in the Intermediate Championship pencilled in for the weekend.

Those two semi-finals are on Saturday with Aodh Ruadh and Milford facing off in Convoy.

Burt will play the winners of last night’s quarter-final replay meeting of Naomh Columba and St Naul’s.

That semi-final is fixed for Pairc Naomh Columba, Glenswilly for 2 pm on Saturday.

Rounding off another busy weekend of championship action there are two last four games in the Intermediate B championship and the remaining semi-final in the Junior B championship.

Cloughaneely and Naomh Brid on Saturday afternoon and Buncrana and Aodh Ruadh on Sunday, are the two Intermediate B games.

Letterkenny Gaels and Urris meet in the Junior B championship.