Daniel Brennan . . . who has taken up the free taking duties in Stephen Griffin's absence
Buncrana 1 1 0 0 2
Glenfin 1 1 0 0 2
St. Naul’s 1 0 1 0 0
Downings 1 0 1 0 0
Buncrana 3-9, Downings 0-11
Glenfin 3-13, St. Naul’s 1-16
St. Naul’s v Buncrana, Saturday 7.30
Downings v Glenfin, Saturday 7.30
Glenfin and Buncrana are obviously in the pole positions of Group C after their opening round wins. Glenfin will be strongly fancied to overcome a Downings side that are struggling at the moment, but the big game will be in Gerald Gallagher Memorial Park, Mountcharles on Saturday when St. Naul’s need a win to secure a path to the quarter-finals.
They top Division Three, while Buncrana are struggling to avoid relegation from Division Two. It has been a good year for the Parish of Inver club, winning the All-Ireland Gaeltacht under new manager John McNulty, but they go into Saturday’s game under pressure.
“It is a crunch game and missing Stephen Griffin is a big loss,” says John McNulty, who says that Griffin will not be back for another few weeks but he is recovering well from a grade 3 medial ligament tear.
“We hope to have him back by the middle of September. We had a blip against Letterkenny Gaels in the league but we have got back on track,” says McNulty, who saw his side defeat Naomh Ultan on Saturday last to go back top of Division Three.
He knows that Buncrana will be a real challenge. “I saw them against Naomh Columba recently and they have Kevin Campbell (former Kilcar man) playing midfield,” says McNulty, who is looking forward to seeing his old clubmate again.
It has been some journey for Campbell from corner forward to goalkeeper for Kilcar and now midfield for Buncrana!
“They have a formidable side with Jigger (Darach O’Connor), John Campbell, Bruce Waldron, Caolan McGonigle, the Dohertys; they have plenty of talent and got promoted last year. They will be coming down as favourites.”
McNulty knows it is a big game and would have targeted getting out of group and also out of Division Three at the start of the year. “It will not be easy,” he says.
As for the other game, McNulty feels Glenfin, playing at a higher level, will be too strong for Downings, who, he says, have lost 6/7 players and are fighting to avoid relegation. “They won’t make it easy for Glenfin, though.”
The loss of Stephen Griffin may be the deciding factor. Daniel Brennan has did well in the free-taking duties for St. Naul’s and if they get everybody else onto the field, it will still be a close encounter. Buncrana have blown hot and cold, defeating Aodh Ruadh in the league and they only lost by a point away to Cloughaneely last week.
Downings won the junior championship last year, but Glenfin may be a step too far for them now.
Democrat says it could be a draw in Mountcharles and Glenfin to win in Downings.