Donegal in championship mode ahead of Armagh minor clash

Tom Comack

Reporter:

Tom Comack

Email:

sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Donegal in championship mode ahead of Armagh minor clash

Donegal face Armagh in the Ulster Minor Football Shield final this Saturday in Garvaghey. (Throw-in 12 noon)

However, Donegal’s focus is very much on the Ulster Minor Championship and their meeting with Antrim, rather than on Saturday’s Shield final joust with Armagh.

Donegal are the reigning Ulster champions and have won the last three Ulster Minor League titles.

“We are looking forward to the game. It is an extra game and it is good to get it at this time of the year and ahead of the championship,” Donegal manager, Shaun Paul Barrett (pictured) , told the Democrat.

Barrett, who has enjoyed success at Buncrana and McGuigan Cup level, is in his second year in the minor job.

He guided Donegal to an Ulster Minor Championship last season.

“It’s only four weeks from this coming Sunday to the championship and our game with Antrim in MacCumhaill Park.

“Those four weeks won’t be long passing so the focus at this stage has to be very much on Antrim and May 21st.

“In terms of preparation for the championship it is good to be getting a game and against new opposition, a team we haven’t played before.”

Donegal, after a poor start to the league and drawing with Fermanagh and losing to Tyrone and Derry, have bounced back and have won their last two outings.

The defeated Antrim in O’Donnell Park and followed that win up with another victory last Saturday against Down, in Mayobridge.

“The team has begun to take shape after a poor start and we have a number of players back from injury and the squad is getting stronger.

“There is a fair bit of competition for places and we have 18 or 19 players now fighting for starting positions, which is good. And we still have a few more fellows to come back from injury.

“We have Aaron Doherty, too, one of our top players showing up well and scoring well in the last couple of games.

“He had been creating chances in the early games but wasn’t scoring but that has all changed in the last two games.”

Doherty scored 2-5 of Donegal’s 2-12 in last Saturday’s semi-final win over Down.

Naomh Conaill’s Jeaic McKelvey has been added to the squad in recent weeks.

“We were aware of Jeaic and what he was capable of but he had not attended any trials. He was up at Finn Harps at the time.

“But I saw him against Milford in a league game playing for Naomh Conaill and he played very well and we had a chat afterwards and he has come on board.

“We are glad to have him but he is currently injured with a hamstring strain and is out of the reckoning for Saturday’s game.”

Regular full back Aaron Deeney missed last weekend’s semi-final injury and is in a race against the clock to be fit for Saturday.

Ryan McMahon, another of the regulars, missed the Down game with a bug.

However, the manager expects the Milford man will be fit to take his place against the Orchard County.

Armagh lost to Cavan, Monaghan and Down in their group in the league. But they defeated Fermanagh last weekend in the Shield semi-final.