By Tom Comack Sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat
It’s unlikely that Donegal and Tyrone will be able to pull any surprises when they meet on Saturday, in the Nicky Rackard Cup, in Carrickmore. (Throw-in 3pm).
Saturday’s shoot-out for a place in the last four of the Nicky Rackard championship will be their fourth meeting in less than five weeks.
The three previous games were in Division 3A of the Allianz Hurling League. Donegal won the last two of those games with Tyrone winning the first by two points, 1-12 to 1-10, in Garvaghy.
But Donegal have won the two games since by comfortable margins. Ardal McDermott’s side won 2-14 to 0-15 in Donnell Park, and followed that up with 4-25 to 1-12 victory in the Division 3A final in Celtic Park.
Former Tipperary minor and Intermediate player Davin Flynn hit 2-8 in the league decider. Lee Henderson posted 0-7 and Ronan McDermott and Stephen Gillespie scored the other goals on a day when Donegal had ten different scorers.
That 22-point winning margin was dismissed as a one off by Donegal captain Danny Cullen this week.
“That was just one of those games when everything went well for us,” Cullen said.
“Saturday’s game will be completely different and Tyrone will be a different proposition this time around.
“The League final was a one-off. We scored a goal before half-time which put us in a good position at the break and we kicked on in the second half.
“It was just one of those games in the second half that everything we hit turned into a score.
“Tyrone will be going all out to put in a big performance. They got a good result last weekend away to Monaghan in the first round and they also ran Derry close in the Ulster Shield final.”
Tyrone defeated Monaghan by a point, 2-11 to 0-16, last Saturday in Castleblayney.
On the same day, Donegal recorded a first win in 16 years over Armagh in O’Donnell Park. Donegal came out on top by nine points, 1-18 to 0-13.
Davin Flynn once again top-scored with 1-5 while Lee Henderson hit 0-5, Declan Coulter posted 0-3 and Joe Boyle, Bernard Lafferty and Gerard Gilmore chipped in with 0-2 each.
“We were very happy with our performance against Armagh and 1-19 is a good score,” Cullen said.
“It was good to get the win over Armagh .We also have to realise that they were short a number of key players.
“It’s back to square one this weekend and we’re going to have to repeat that performance if we are to qualify for the semi-final.”
The winners of Saturday’s tie will book their place in the last four while all is not gone for the losers who will face Monaghan in the quarter-final.
Donegal are the form team and with Flynn shooting the lights out and Declan Coulter, Cullen, Lee Henderson, Jamesie Donnelly and Jack O’Loughlin playing well, they will take beating.
But on home soil in Carrickmore and with that 22-point league final defeat fresh in their minds, Tyrone will be no pushover.
However, barring a bad day at the office, Donegal should have too much class for the Red Hands.