Action from Gaoth Dobhair v Naomh Conaill last weekend
It was always going to come down to the meeting of Naomh Conaill and St Eunan’s to determine one of the quarter-final places in the Donegal Senior Championship.
That was the view of former Kilcar manager, John McNulty, from the outset and even before Gaoth Dobhair defeated St Eunan’s in O’Donnell Park.
“No matter how the St Eunan’s and Gaoth Dobhair game turned out I always felt it was going to come down to the Naomh Conaill versus St Eunan’s game,” the Kilcar clubman told the Democrat this week.
And now that it has and the two go head to head on Sunday in Davy Brennan Memorial Park, Glenties (2 pm), he is finding it a hard one to call.
But he also admits to be edging towards a St Eunan’s win.
“It is a difficult one to call and I suppose it is all down to the way St Eunan’s set up. They set up defensively against Gaoth Dobhair in the first game and if they do so again against Glenties I would have to edge towards St Eunan’s.
“If you look back at the St Eunan’s, Gaoth Dobhair game, Gaoth Dobhair with the quality forward line they could only manage ten points in O’Donnell Park.
“It is hard to see Naomh Conaill, who need goals to win games, chalking up a match winning score.
“They really struggled for scores against Gaoth Dobhair last Sunday and I know they were without the ‘Brick’ Molloy who is usually worth a few points.
“Not sure if the Brick is injured or what the story is with him, but they definitely need him for Sunday, if they are to have a chance.
“I feel Naomh Conaill have gone back and are not as good as they were over the last few years.
“Their older player have played a lot of football and I’m not sure if they have the real hunger anymore. They are really crying out for one or two class young forwards to get back to be serious challengers and that is what is edging me towards St Eunan’s.”
However, John McNulty also feels Maxi Curran, the St Eunan’s manager, has a dilemma on whether to go as defensive as they did against Gaoth Dobhair or to go a little more attack minded.
“The defensive plan worked to a point against Gaoth Dobhair in that it restricted Gaoth Dobhair to twelve points. But they could only manage to score 0-6 themselves.”
The Kilcar man feels that St Eunan’s are crying out for another couple of scoring forwards.
“St Eunan’s have a huge reliance on young Niall O’Donnell for scores. He scored 1-2 against Gaoth Dobhair and 0-7 against Dungloe on Saturday night. If he is held they could be in trouble and that is why Maxi might be tempted to push a few men forward and go for it.”
Gaoth Dobhair, winners over St Eunan’s and Naomh Conaill, face Dungloe in Rosses Park in the other game in the group.
The form guide tells John McNulty, regardless of the local derby nature of the tie, that he cannot see anything other than a Gaoth Dobhair win.
“Gaoth Dobhair are the best team in the group and are probably the best team in the county. They are a quality side and with Dungloe really struggling all season Gaoth Dobhair are away ahead of them and should complete the clean sweep of three straight wins to copperfasten their position at the top of the group.”
The McNulty verdict
Naomh Conaill v St Eunan’s
Verdict: St Eunan’s
Dungloe v Gaoth Dobhair
Verdict: Gaoth Dobhair