Donegal hurlers have sights set on another Nicky Rackard Cup

Donegal hurlers have sights set on another Nicky Rackard Cup
Tom Comack @dgldemocrat

Donegal are chasing a place in the Nicky Rackard Cup Senior Hurling Championship final and another outing in Croke Park, when they face Monaghan on Saturday.

The game is a last four clash and is in Owenbeg, the Derry Training Centre, with a 1 p.m. throw-in.

It is also a repeat of last year’s quarter final when Monaghan ended Donegal’s campaign as they ran out four point winners, 1-16 to 1-12.

Davin Flynn 1-3, Lee Henderson 0-5, Declan Coulter 0-3 and Joe Boyle were the Donegal scorers on that afternoon in Inniskeen.

Fergal Rafter, Monaghan’s eagle-eyed centre half-forward, posted nine of Monaghan’s points with four of those coming from frees.

“It is big test for us. Monaghan beat us last year and ended our Nicky Rackard campaign. The two teams have changed an awful lot since so we know what we are up against,” said Donegal manager, Mickey McCann, who was not in charge last year.

“Monaghan will be strong and physicial and they have a couple of down the country men in the forward line that are handy forwards.

“The full-forward Eamon Collins is from Cork and the right corner-forward Conor Flynn is from Waterford. They are two good hurlers and they will take watching.

“I watched them against Louth last week in the play-off and they were three points down with only a few minutes left and they came back to draw.”

Louth and Monaghan ended all square last Saturday, 0-18 each in Dowdallshill in Louth.

“They are a dogged and hard working team and are going all out to get to the final and a game in Croke Park. Monaghan hurlers have never played in Croke Park.”

Monaghan came second to Warwickshire in Group 1 with a win and a draw from three games played in the group.

Their group had four teams, one more than Donegal’s group. They won one game. They defeated Longford 4-19 to 2-10 and lost to Warwickshire 1-21 to 3-11 before drawing with Louth in last week’s playoff.

Feargal Rafter hit 0-11, ten of them from placed balls against Louth and the veteran forward along with the aforementioned Collins and Flynn carry the main scoring threat for the Farney men.

Donegal are the form team and after a successful Division 2B Allianz League campaign Mickey McCann’s men have been in brilliant form in their two games in the championship so far.

Former Nicky Rackard winner with Armagh, Declan Coulter, and former Tipperary minor and Intermediate player, Davin Flynn, have been red hot for Donegal in the games against Tyrone and Leitrim.

Ronan McDermott is Donegal’s only injury. He broke a bone in his hand and out of the reckoning for Saturday.

However, with Lee Henderson back in training after a lengthy layoff with injury and who played 20 minutes against Leitrim last time out, he looks like a ready made replacement for the young Burt man.