Tom Comack email@example.com @dgldemocrat
St Naul’s and Naomh Ultan renew their rivalry this weekend when they meet in Division Three of the AllSportStore.com league for the first time in 20 years.
It is also a local derby clash with the added spice of the teams are being managed by Kilcar men who are lifelong friends - a friendship which is being put on hold this weekend.
Former Kilcar minor and U-21 championship winning manager John McNulty is the St Naul’s manager.
And former Kilcar player Kevin Lyons, who was alongside McNulty for most of his success with his home club, is now in charge in Dunkineely.
The game is fixed for Saturday evening is in Gerard Gallagher Memorial Park, Mountcharles and is believed to be the first meeting between the neighbours at adult level in two decades.
“It’s two friends going into battle’ said John McNulty.
“Myself and Kevin are very good friends and we worked together down the years with Kilcar, both at underage and senior and we have enjoyed good success together,” added the St Naul’s boss.
“It will be strange on Saturday to see him with the opposition. But that is the way it is. I will be doing my best to ensure that St Naul’s win and knowing Kevin he will be going all out for a Naomh Ultan win.”
St. Naul’s suffered their first defeat of the season away to Glenfin last Sunday, in the Michael Murphy Sport and Leisure Intermediate championship and they will be anxious to bounce back from that reversal this weekend.
Naomh Ultan have been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks and were short eight first choice players for last weekend’s first round Intermediate championship tie against Carndonagh.
Yet, despite being down in numbers Naomh Ultan got their championship season up and running with a three point home win over Carndonagh.
This was Naomh Ultan’s second win under Lyons. They have won just one of their four games played in the league.
“We’ve been really badly hit by injuries, eight of the first team was missing last Sunday and they are all going to miss this weekend’s game too.”
The experienced duo of Dermot Gallier and Aidan Duddy along with Peter Alvey, new signing John Knightley (former Laune Rangers, Kerry), Kevin McGuinness, Matthew Dupuy and Darragh Murran are all still on the treatment table this week.
And they have been joined by goalkeeper Donal Murrin, who picked up a knock against Carndonagh, is likely to miss the local derby showdown.
“I know we are going to be understrength but I’m still looking forward to the game. Obviously because John is managing St Naul’s has added to it,” said Kevin.
“Myself and John are very close and are even walking buddies and regularly go for walks together. But there will be no walk this week,” quipped Kevin.
“The players are also looking forward to the game, too. We were chatting about it last night at training and only Aidan Duddy and Sean Furey had played against St Naul’s at adult level.
“As far as Aidan can recall the last time they met was in 1997.”
On the good news front for Naomh Ultan followers heading to Gerard Gallagher Park, Damien Quigley, who missed last Sunday’s game through suspension, will be back.
This is a star weekend which means that all teams will be without their county players, due to Donegal’s first round Ulster championship meeting with Antrim on Sunday week.
St Naul’s may be without Brendan McCole if named in the 26 for Donegal seniors.
In the other games in Division Three, the bottom two, Letterkenny Gaels and Red Hugh’s, meet at the Glebe, Moville are home to Downings, Burt host Naomh Brid and Naomh Muire are away to Gael Fhanada.
The top game in Division One is the clash of league leaders and early pacesetters, St Eunan’s and Gaoth Dobhair. That game is in Magheragallon.
St Eunan’s will be without Caolan Ward and Eamon Doherty, Donegal tied, while Mervyn O’Donnell in Gaoth Dobhair is planning this week knowing he will be without Neil McGee, Michael Carroll and Cian Mulligan, also Donegal tied.
Gaoth Dobhair will also be without the long term injured Kieran Gillespie.
The other big clash in the top flight sees St Michael’s and Kilcar clash at the Bridge, Dunfanaghy.
Again both teams will be short a number of key personnel. Mark Anthony McGinley, Martin McElhinney and Michael Langan will be missing from the St Michael’s lineup.
Kilcar will be even harder hit with Ryan, Mark and Eoin McHugh and the McBrearty brothers, Patrick and Stephen, all county tied.
Elsewhere, in the top division Milford will host Glenswilly, without Michael Murphy at Moyle View Park.
Naomh Conaill, minus Ciaran Thompson, are at home to Four Masters, who will be minus Karl Lacey.
And Realt Na Mara, Bundoran make the long trip to Rosses Park, without Paul and Jamie Brennan, where Dungloe will provide the opposition.
The meeting of high flying Aodh Ruadh and Naomh Columba in Pairc Na nGael, Glencolmcille, is the mouthwatering tie in Division Two.
This is a top of the table clash with both teams going into the tie unbeaten. Aodh Ruadh, who top the table with five straight wins from their five games, will be without ‘keeper Peter Boyle.
Naomh Columba, are also unbeaten with four wins and a draw from their five games.
Also in Division Two, third placed Ardara will be without Paddy McGrath for the visit of Glenfin, who will be minus their county ace Frank McGlynn.
Termon are away to Malin; Buncrana host newly crowned Donegal Gaeltacht champions Cloughaneely and Killybegs entertain Sean MacCumhaills in Fintra.
There are also fixtures down for decision in Divisions Four and Five.