MacCumhaill Park . . . the preferred choice for Rory Gallagehr
Rory Gallagher would prefer to play all of Donegal’s games in Sean MacCumhaill Park, but accepts that Fr Tierney Park, Ballyshannon and O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny have to get games.
This year, Donegal will play two of their four Allianz Leagues - Dublin and Tyrone - in the number one county ground in Ballybofey, and a game each in Letterkenny and Ballybofey.
Donegal face Kerry on Sunday in O’Donnell Park, and Monaghan, in their second last game, in Fr Tierney Park.
The practice has been in recent years, since the upgrade at O’Donnell Park, that games have been divided out between the three grounds, with MacCumhaill Park always hosting two in the years that Donegal have four games.
“We would prefer to play in Ballybofey but the rule in the county is that we play a game in Ballyshannon and Letterkenny,” said Rory Gallagher, speaking at a press briefing ahead of the opening game of the league this week.
“The one thing I will say is the St Eunan's and the Aodh Ruadh clubs are very good to us and their facilities are always available to us.
“But that is the rule and that is the way it is and we don't dwell on it. We like to play in Ballybofey and we have a very good record in MacCumhaill Park over the last five to six years but likewise we have a brilliant record in Ballyshannon.
“Teams think that you take them there deliberately but little do they know it has nothing to do with the management.
“The board discuss it with the manager, but ultimately it was a no brainer this year.
“Tyrone and Dublin had to be in Ballybofey, with the anticipated crowds.”
In reference to Donegal’s poor record in O’Donnell Park, he said that while they had a number of dark days by the banks of the Swilly, there was no apparent reason for it.
“We train on it and with the exception of Convoy we train on O'Donnell Park probably more than we train on MacCumhaill Park.
“We enjoy going to O’Donnell Park, but we don't deliver on it.
“We beat Monaghan in 2014 in O'Donnell Park, but we have lost games and have lost them horribly.
“We lost to Laois, Monaghan and Roscommon last year, in games that we haven't even turned up and performed in.”