Donegal hurlers bracing themselves for Derry challenge

Tough test ahead for new-look Donegal

Tom Comack


Tom Comack


Donegal v Derry hurling preview

Action from last weekend's game in Letterkenny where Donegal lost out to Wicklow PICTURE: GERALDINE DIVER

Donegal are dusting themselves down following Sunday’s defeat by Wicklow and gearing up to take on Derry on Saturday in round two of the Christy Ring Cup in Owenbeg. (Throw-in 3 pm).
Mickey McCann’s young and inexperienced side came agonisingly close to causing a major upset on Sunday against Wicklow in O’Donnell Park.
Wicklow, the Division 2B league champions, may have won by six points - not a huge margin hurling - but with less than four minutes to go there were just two points between the sides.
Donegal had led the men from the Garden County by six points at one stage.

SEE ALSO: Donegal lost out narrowly to Wicklow

“We really let the game slip away in the ten minutes before half-time and the seven minutes after half-time,” McCann said.
“They scored their three goals in that period.”
Donegal are in transition this season following a number of high profile retirements and number of key players opting out of the squad. They were also without their leading marksman Declan Coulter with a knee injury and they lost their other top marksman Lee Henderson in the second half to injury.
“It was a very good performance given the team we had out and the loss of Lee was a real blow especially given we were without Declan,” McCannon added.
“If Lee had stayed on the field we could possibly have got a draw at least because we missed a few frees when we were just two down that he would more than likely have converted.

“It was a disappointing result from that point of view because the reality is, we got nothing out of a game we probably deserved to get something out of.”
Sean MacCumhaills sharpshooter Henderson is a major doubt for Saturday’s showdown with Derry who got their Christy Ring campaign off to a winning start away against Down.
“Lee didn’t train last night and it is going to be touch and go if he is fit to play on Saturday. He got a spasm in the back but we will give him every chance because of his free-taking, especially with Declan still not available.”
Coulter has been ruled out for the rest of the Christy Ring campaign with a knee injury.
McCann is also planning this week to be without Marty Callaghan who is not available on Saturday.

Mickey McCann and Jamesie Donnelly at O'Donnell Park last weekend

“Marty is a big loss too because himself and Conor Parke had very good games in the cornerback positions,” the manager said.
“But we are going to have to get on with it. Colm Flood came on and had a very good game on Sunday so he has put himself in the frame and Niall Cleary will also be in the running.
“Paddy Hannigan is also going well in training and is in contention for a starting place.”
Derry’s away win over Down in Portaferry and the 3-20 to 2-14 scoreline have left the Oak Leaf men one of the early favourites for the Christy Ring championship.
“I think Derry are a better team than Wicklow and are one of the favourites for the championship. I feel we are going to be really up against it on Saturday, but the young lads will have drawn a good deal of confidence from the game against Wicklow.”