Naomh Conaill heading to Mayo chasing three in-a-row

Seven Donegal teams at All-Ireland finals

Tom Comack


Tom Comack

Naomh Conaill heading to Mayo chasing three in-a-row

Tom Comack @dgldemocrat

Naomh Conaill, the reigning All-Ireland champions, and Cloich Cheann Fhaola, the current Donegal champions, will get the ball rolling for the All-Ireland Senior Comórtas Peile Na Gaeltacht, on Saturday in Tourmakeady, Co Mayo.

In an all-Donegal game, the two meet in the first of the senior quarter-finals. The game is timed for a 2 pm.

Naomh Conaill were crowned senior champions for the second time last year when they defeated Naomh Aban, Cork, in the All-Ireland final.

Naomh Conaill are chasing a three in-a-row, having won their first in 2015 against Kilcar in Ardara.

Cloich Cheann Fhaola are three time champions and they have a proud Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta record. The last of their three championships was won back in 2011.

In what, is a Division One versus Division Two clash, Naomh Conaill will enter the tie as favourites.

But given Cloich Cheann Fhaola's proud record and their recent good run in the All County Football League, albeit in the second division, Kevin Mulhern and company are expected to give the reigning champions a run for their money.

Both teams will be without their county players as Rory Gallagher cranks up Donegal’s preparations for Donegal’s Ulster semi-final showdown against Tyrone.

Cloich Cheann Fhaola are travelling without their Donegal midfield ace Jason McGee.

Naomh Conaill manager Martin Regan is planning the defence without Ciaran Thompson and Ethan O’Donnell.

The winners will play either An Gaeltacht from Kerry or Belmullet from Mayo in the semi-final on Sunday.

In all, there are seven Donegal teams heading to Tourmakeady at the weekend - four mens teams and three ladies teams.

Naomh Naille, the Donegal junior champions and Na Dunaibh reserve team are the other men’s teams.

Gleann Fhinne (senior ladies), Naomh Conaill (intermediate) and Naomh Muire (junior) are the three ladies teams.

Naomh Naille are one of the favourites for the Junior Championship and have been drawn in the preliminary round.

They face an early start on Saturday morning as they square up to Moin Dearg, London, at 10.30 am.

It is an early start, too, for Na Dunaibh. They have drawn Clann Na Gael from Rathcairn, Meath; that game also throws-in at 10.30 am.

Na Dunaibh won the junior championship last year and are entitled to defend their title.

But their first team played in the Donegal Senior Comórtas Peile Na Gaeltachta and as a consequence are not allowed play in the junior championship.

The draw has been very unkind to these junior teams as the winners of the two games are out again on Saturday evening in a quarter final.

The winners of the Naomh Naille and Moin Dearg game will face the winners of the Na Dunaibh versus Clan Na Gael, 7.15 pm.

The winners of that quarter-final have an early semi- final start on Sunday morning. Their semi-final is timed for 10.30 pm throw in.

Three games in the space of 24 hours. One wonders about player welfare!

Gleann Fhinne, the Donegal Senior Ladies champions and the last winners of the All-Ireland Comórtas Peile senior when it was played in 2015, head the Donegal ladies challenge

They are in semi-final action on Saturday when they face Claregalway, Galway, with the winners going head to head with Moycullen, Galway, on Sunday.

Naomh Muire go toe to toe with Naomh Eanna, Leitir Mór, in the semi-final of the Junior with the winners playing either Tourmakeady or Kilcommin, both from Mayo, in the final on Sunday.

Naomh Conaill are straight through to the Intermediate final. They face An Fhairce (Clonbur) Galway, on Saturday evening.

The junior and senior men’s finals are on Monday.