Kildrum Tigers - could be among the title-challengers in the Premier Division this season.
The battle for the coveted Brian McCormick Sports Premier Division title gets underway on Sunday with league champions Glenea United beginning the defence of their crown at home to Kildrum Tigers.
The Glasserchoo club have a new management team at the helm this year with player-manager Ryan McFadden and Sean Coll replacing outgoing manager, Anthony McCafferty.
But everyone at Glenea know only too well that the task of retaining their title is pretty big.
Such is the quality of competition in the Premier Division that each and every club can rightly be confident of mounting a challenge to be among the leading clubs come the end of the season.
Even Donegal Town and Cappry Rovers - the two promoted clubs - have shown enough to suggest that they have the squads, facilities and managerial experience to play their part in the title race.
Donegal Town manager, Paul McHugh, guided his team to promotion from Division One last season and he said everyone in the club is looking forward to the new campaign.
“It’s fantastic for everyone involved to be back in the Premier Division,” he said.
“It’s been a while and we know only too well, that it’s a big step up for us. But one thing’s for sure, we don’t intend to be just making up the numbers. We want to do our best and compete, and see what happens.”
Donegal Town reached the Area Final of the Brian McCormick Cup, only to lose out on penalties to Cappry Rovers.
“From the first round, our aim was to try and win the Area Final so that we could maintain our interest in a cup competition,” McHugh said.
“But it wasn’t to be. Fair play to Cappry, they’re a good side and you could see from the game that both teams have prepared well for the new season. We’ve been training since July. We’ve played a few friendlies and we’ve had these games in the cup, so we’re ready to go.”
As regards selecting a title favourite in the Premier Division, McHugh said it’s a difficult choice.
“You can look at any number of sides and say they’ll be there or thereabouts,” he said.
“Glenea will obviously be the side to beat again this year, but after that, there are a number of sides that have strengthened.”
McHugh pointed to the appointment of Sean ‘Budgie’ Sandilands as manager at Milford United as a timely boost to the Moyle View Park club. He also said Kildrum Tigers, Rathmullan Celtic, under Dara Patton, and Kilmacrennan Celtic will also be very strong this year.
“I think after a few weeks of the season, we’ll see the league taking shape and we’ll have a better idea then,” he said.
Donegal Town have also added to their panel from last year with McHugh signing two goalkeepers - Gavin Mulreany (Dunkineely Celtic) and Enda Kenny (Letterbarrow Celtic), as well as talented gaelic footballer Peadar Mogan, and Barry Mulligan (Erne Wanderers).
They open their campaign with an away match at Milford United.
In the other games, Kilmacrennan Celtic meet Rathmullan and Cappry Rovers are at home to Lagan Harps, who also have a new man in charge in Chris Toner who has replaced Keith Hegarty.
There are two new managers in charge at Drumoghill (‘Jocky’ Wilson) and Castlefinn Celtic (Kieran Brennan) and while they were due to meet in their opening game, the match has been postponed and will be played later in the season.
Premier Division fixtures
Sunday, 10th September
Brian Mc Cormick Sports Premier Division
Milford United v Donegal Town
Kilmacrennan Celtic v Rathmullan Celtic
Glenea United v Kildrum Tigers
Cappry Rovers v Lagan Harps
Kilmacrennan Celtic - Area Shield winners in the Brian McCormick Sports Cup