After the highs of recent weeks and months and last Sunday’s peak of All-Ireland final day in Croke Park, the spotlight switches to club football here in Donegal this weekend - the RTE Raidio Na Gaeltachta Senior Football Championship and the All- Sports Intermediate championship.
There are eight first round, first leg games in the race for the senior championship and three in the Intermediate championship down for decision.
Two of the senior games - Dungloe at home to Cloughaneely and Fanad Gaels at home to Killybegs - are fixed for Saturday, with the remaining six on Sunday afternoon.
The match of the weekend in the senior championship is the clash of Gaoth Dobhair and last year’s champions Glenswilly in Magheragallon.
Others among the more attractive meetings are those of St. Eunan’s and Kilcar in O’Donnell Park and Ardara and Four Masters in Pearse Park, Ardara.
There are two Division One versus Division Two ties - Dungloe versus Cloughaneely, and St. Michael’s versus Sean MacCumhaills; one first Division One versus Division Three - Naomh Conaill versus St. Nauls and one all Division Two tie, Fanad Gaels versus Killybegs.
The remaining four are all first division encounters.
Dungloe v Cloughaneely
In this clash, Dungloe will pin their hopes on big performances from All-Ireland winner Adrian Hanlon, county U-21 Cory Gallagher, Noel McBride and former county men Adrian and Raymond Sweeney.
Shaun McGarvey, the Maguires, Eugene and Sean, along with Denis Boyle and Joe Friel are the big men in the Cloughaneely line-up, but home advantage and the experience of playing in the higher division should see Dungloe over the line in this one.
Fanad Gaels v Killybegs
This is a top versus bottom of the Division Two table clash with Killybegs, the occupiers of the pole position, travelling to Portsalon to face basement side Fanad Gaels.
Killybegs followers will pin their hopes on former county panellist Paul McGinley, Christopher Murrin and Shane Boyle along with Conal Molloy and his brother Shane Molloy.
In Seamie Friel (Coshia) and Seamie Friel (Nanny) in attack and driven on by Michael Sweeney from midield and Patrick McConigley from centre back, Fanad have the players to put Killybegs’ great championship pedigree to the test and to make it a trying evening for Killybegs followers.
Naomh Conaill v St. Naul’s
All-Ireland medal holders Anthony Thompson, Leo McLoone, Dermot ‘Brick’ Molloy and Marty Boyle will head the Naomh Conaill challenge in this David versus Goliath clash.
Naomh Conaill are one of the championship favourities while St. Naul’s play in Division Three of the All-County Football League and are last year’s Intermediate champions.
Stephen Griffin,is St. Naul’s sole county man in what is a very young outfit including Stuart Johnston, Fiachra McGinley, Barry Griffin - brother of Stephen - and Shane Conneely.
Verdict: Naomh Conaill
St.Eunan’s v Kilcar
It is Rory Kavanagh and Kevin Rafferty versus their county and All-Ireland winning teammates Mark McHugh and Patrick McBrearty as St. Eunan’s host Kilcar.
This tie also brings together two of the championship favourites, though St. Eunan’s, who have the Division One League title wrapped up, are the more fancied of the two.
This is especially so with the news that Mark McHugh is struggling with a groin injury and also given the strength in depth in the St. Eunan’s squad. It is generally believed of all the big hitters - St. Eunan’s, Naomh Conaill, St. Michael’s and Kilcar - they will be the least affected in a short and swift campaign by the stresses and strains of Donegal’s All-Ireland triumph.
Verdict: St. Eunan’s
St.Michael’s v Sean MacCumhaill’s
St. Michael’s had ten points to spare at the finish when these sides met in last year’s second leg of championship as Colm McFadden and company won pulling up.
That was after MacCumhaill’s had made a reasonable fist of it in the opening leg in MacCumhaill Park,
With St. Michael’s riding high just behind St. Eunan’s at the top of the Division One League table and MacCumhaill’s in mid-position in Division Two, little has happened in the past 12 months to suggest that MacCumhaill’s have narrowed the gap. St. Michael’s, with six players in the county squad, are hot favourites to draw first blood in this encounter before cruising into the quarter-final.
Verdict: St. Michael’s.
Bundoran v Glenfin
This all-second division clash promises to be an eagerly contested encounter between two teams that are neck and neck in the chase for promotion to the top flight.
Frank McGlynn and Glenfin are just one point ahead of Bundoran in the coveted third place play-off position in the table behind Malin and leaders Killybegs.
But they will not relish the trip to Gaelic Park where the Shane McGowan inspired Bundoran will be quietly confident that they can win the home leg.
The sides have met once so far this season and in what can be only described as a freak scoreline with Bundoran bagging the two league points 4-14 to 1-11 on their visit to Pairc Taobhoige.
Ardara v Four Masters
These are two sides that are no strangers when it comes to locking horns in championship football.
League position and form would suggest that the Karl Lacey, Paul Durcan and Barry Dunnion powered Four Masters will go into this tie as slight favourites, but only slight.
Championship meetings between Ardara and Four Masters tend to be close affairs and this one is no different.
Paddy McGrath along with the aforementioned are the big name players on view, this tie could come down to a shoot-out between Michael Doherty, Four Masters and Ardara’s livewire full-forward Gareth Concarr.
Gaoth Dobhair v Glenswilly
The match of the day on Sunday with the McGee brothers Eamon, Neil and Peter and Kevin Cassidy powered Gaoth Dobhair going head to head with their county colleagues Michael Murphy and Neil Gallagher and reigning champions Glenswilly.
With both teams struggling in the league and propping up Division One, their season hinges on a good championship run and in the case of Glenswilly defending the title they won for the first time last season.
This tie has third game written all over it and if that is to be the case Gaoth Dobhair must make home advantage pay on Sunday, in what promises to be a keenly contested clash.
Verdict: Gaoth Dobhair
All Sports Intermediate Championship
Buncrana v Burt
In this all Inishowen clash Ryan Bradley and Buncrana will expect to make home advantage pay against their neighbours Burt.
Naomh Brid v Aodh Ruadh
Another local derby clash with Naomh Brid, who are struggling to retain their Division Two status, up against their neighbours their Aodh Ruadh, who seem to have finally found their form ,albeit in Division Three.
Verdict: Naomh Brid
Termon v Urris
Urris caused something of an upset with their two straight wins to dump fancied Naomh Mhuire out of the championship.
But despite this they may find Termon at the Burn Road a more difficult proposition.
Saturday 29th September
RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta 2012 Comortas Craobh an Chontae SFC: An Chlochan Liath v Cloch Cheann Fhaola Mickey Mulhern, 17:00, Linesmen: M Mc Glinchey/A Boyd; Gaeil Fhanada v Na Cealla Beaga Martin Coll, 17:00, Linesmen: J Mc Ginley/B Trearty;
RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta 2012 Comortas Craobh an Chontae SRFC: An Chlochan Liath v Cloch Cheann Fhaola Mark Mc Glinchey, 15:30; Gaeil Fhanada v Na Cealla Beaga James McGinley, 15:30.
The All Sports Donegal Town 2012 Intermediate Championship: Buncrana v Burt Jimmy White, 17:00, Linesmen: SP Doherty/J Friel; Naomh Brid v Aodh Ruadh Connie Doherty, 17:00, Linesmen M McGlinchey/J Mc Glanaghey; Termon v Urris Shane Toolan, 17:00, Linesmen: R McGonigle/S Coyle.
The All Sports Donegal Town 2012 Intermediate Reserve Championship: Buncrana v Burt Sean Paul Doherty, 15:30; Naomh Brid v Aodh RuadhMark Mc Glinchey, 15:30.
Mount Errigal Hotel Junior B Football Championship: Naomh Columba v Sean MacCumhaills Ryan Walsh. Linesmen: D Callaghan/E Breslin;
Centra Supermarkets Division 3: Red Hughs v Naomh Padraig-Muff Don Langan, 17:00.
Centra Supermarkets Division 3 Reserve: Red Hughs v Naomh Padraig-Muff Bennie Trearty Red Hughs, 15:30.
Marley Coach Hire Division 4: Naomh Ultan v Naomh Colmcille Andrew Mullin, 17:00, ; Naomh Padraig Leifear v Na Rossa Liam Mc Conigley, 17:00; Milford v Robert Emmets Paddy McGonagle, 17:00.
Sunday 30th September
RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta 2012 Comortas Craobh an Chontae SFC: Naomh Conaill v Naomh Naille Hugo Wallace, Linesmen: A Mullin, R Mc Gonigle; Naomh Adhamhnan v Cill Chartha Robbie O Donnell, 15:00. Linesmen P. Clifford/P Mc Gonilge; Naomh Micheal v Sean MacCumhaills Seamus McGonagle, 15:00, Linesmen: P Mc Keever/J O Donnell; Bun Dobhrain v Gleann Fhinne Ian Molloy, 15:00, Linesmen: G O Donnell/J McGlanaghy; Ard a Ratha v Na Ceithre Maistri Kieran McShea, 15:00. Linesmen: P Mc Gowan/J Brennan; Gaoth Dobhair v Gleann Suilli, Jimmy White, 5:00, Linesmen: L Mc Conigley/M Dorrian;
RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta 2012 Comortas Craobh an Chontae SRFC: Naomh Conaill v Naomh Naille Andrew Mullin, 13:30; Naomh Micheal v Sean MacCumhaills, Paddy McKeever, 13:30; Naomh Adhamhnan v Cill Chartha Paddy McGonagle, 13:30; Gaoth Dobhair v Gleann Suilli Liam Mc Conaigley, 13:30; Bun Dobhrain v Gleann Fhinne John McGlanaghy, 13:30,; Ard a Ratha v Na Ceithre Maistiri Paddy McGowan, 13:30.
The All Sports Donegal Town 2012 Intermediate Reserve Championship: Urris v Naomh Mhuire Tony Gallagher, Venue: MacCumhaill Park, 15:00, Play-Off. Linesmen: C Foy/E McFeeley;
Centra Supermarkets Division 3: Carndonagh v Naomh Columba Shaun McLaughlin, 15:00.
Centra Supermarkets Division 3 Reserve: Carndonagh v Naomh Columba, Paul Clifford, 13:30.