DONEGAL GAA SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP

Will Michael Hegarty’s Donegal club championship journey extend to 86th game?

Tom Comack

Reporter:

Tom Comack

Will Michael Hegarty’s Donegal club championship journey extend to 86th game?

Michael Hegarty . . . impeccable club championship record with Kilcar

One big question being posed ahead of Saturday’s Donegal Senior Championship is will Michael Hegarty get to play in a second county final.

Michael will be playing his 85th championship game for his club, Kilcar,  (SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE) when they face off against St. Michael’s in the first of the Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure Donegal Club Senior Championship semi-finals in MacCumhaill Park. (Throw-in 7.30 pm)

The second semi-final between Naomh Conaill and Gaoth Dobhair is on the following  Saturday night with a 7.30 throw-in.  Both semi-finals are been shown live on eir Sport TV.  The independent TV company also showed the quarter final meetings of Kilcar and Bundoran and Gaoth Dobhair and St Eunan’s live.

Kilcar, the reigning league champions, are on course to retain the league crown, and also also the form team of the championship again this season.

And in Michael Hegarty, they have probably one of the most experienced players around today. His club record is a credit to his durability - playing senior club since 1996 and missing only three championship games in that time.

Kilcar were pipped by Glenswilly in last year’s final.

St Michael’s were last  in the semi-final in 2014 when  they went down to St Eunan’s by a point.

The two teams  boast a who’s who of Donegal football, past and present.

As well as Hegarty, Kilcar can call on current county stars Mark, Ryan and Eoin McHugh along with the McBrearty brothers Patrick and Stephen in a squad that includes a number of quality minor players.

St Michael’s also have their share of county men including Martin McElhinney and Michael Langan from this season’s Donegal squad, while All-Star Colm McFadden and Christy Toye are also central players in manager Michael Kelly’s squad.

Michael Langan is a slight doubt with an ankle injury that saw him restricted to just the closing minutes of St Michael’s quarter-final win over Burt.   

“He is back in training alright but he is still not 100% and we are going to have to wait until later in the week to see if he is good to go,” said St Michael’s manager Michael Kelly.

“He has trained on it since but feels it is not just right yet. We will know better later in the week.”

Barry Doherty is the Kilcar manager. The former player  took over from Martin McHugh who stepped down at the beginning of the season after just over a year in the job.

Kilcar came through the group stages undefeated following wins over Gaoth Dobhair, Ardara and Glenswilly.

And they had 11 points to spare in their 1-20 to 1-9 win over Bundoran in the quarter-final.

St Michael’s qualified from their group with comfortable wins over MacCumhaill’s, Bundoran and Malin.

Their stiffest test was in the quarter-final against last year’s Intermediate champions and rank outsiders Burt.

It took a couple of late points from Colm McFadden to see St Michael’s escape with a two point victory, 0-13 to 1-8.

On a bumper weekend of club activity there are a number of other championship games down for decision.

There are two big semi-final games in the Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure Intermediate championship.

These game form an attractive double bill in O’Donnell Park on Sunday.

In the first semi-final St Naul’s face Gaeil Fhánada (1 pm) and this game is followed by the eagerly awaited meeting of Aodh Ruadh and Milford (2.30pm).

Michael Hegarty's impressive championship record for Kilcar
Michael Hegarty - Age 38
Club: 22 years playing in the Donegal Senior Football Championship, 1996 – 2017.
Total Games available 86
Total games played 83
Not played: 2003 v Fanad Gaels
2007 v Buncrana
2017 v Ardara
Scored in games 64
Not scored in games 19
Total scored 4-192
Club Honours
Democrat Cup -Senior League Champions 2014, 2016
Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta , Sinsir na hEireann 2008, 2014