Cill Chartha are off to Kerry this weekend in pursuit of All-Ireland glory when they play in the All-Ireland Comórtas Peile Na Gaeltachta football finals.
An Gaeltacht in West Kerry are hosting this year’s All-Ireland finals which are run over the Bank Holiday weekend with the preliminary and quarter-finals on Saturday, the semi-final on Sunday and the final on Monday.
Cill Chartha are six times All-Ireland champions with the last of those in 2014 when they defeated Micheal Breathanach from Galway in the final in Galway.
Cill Chartha are the Donegal champions. They defeated a strong Gaoth Dobhair in the Donegal finals on the May Bank Holiday Monday.
Due to Donegal’s Ulster semi-final meeting with Tyrone the following weekend, Cill Chartha are making the long trip south without Ryan and Eoin McHugh and Patrick McBrearty.
“Apart from the county men and a couple of the younger lads who are sitting the Leaving Certificate we have everyone else and we are going with a strong squad,” said manager Barry Doherty.
“We are the Donegal champions so we are going down to represent the county and the goal is to win the All-Ireland. It is a long journey so when you go that distance you’ve got to take it seriously and try and win it outright.”
Cill Chartha face Kiltane from Mayo in the quarter-final on Saturday afternoon (2.30 pm) with the winners going through to the semi-final on Sunday.
“It will be a good experience for some of the younger players. We have a number of young lads who have never played in the national competition so it will be good from that point of view. We also hope to use it as a bonding weekend.”
An Gaeltacht and An Daingean (Kerry), An Rinn (Waterford), Oilean Aran (Galway) and Wolfe Tones (Meath) are the other teams in the senior grade.
Even though Cill Chartha will be without their county contingent they are probably favourites heading into the competition. Their biggest threat will possibly come the local teams An Gaeltacht and An Daingean (who are likely to meet in the semi-final).
Na Dunaibh are the reigning All-Ireland junior champions and they are heading south this weekend to defend the crown they won last year on home soil.
They face An Seanphobal from Waterford in the quarter-final on Saturday evening while Gaoth Dobhair’s reserve team are also competing in the junior championship. They were runners-up to Downings in Donegal. They have an early start and are the first Donegal team into action. They will play Dublin club Ná Gaeil Ógra on Saturday and if they come through that game they will be back in quarter-final action late on Saturday afternoon.
The semi-finals are on Sunday and the finals are on Monday.
Glenfin, the reigning All-Ireland champions, also put their All-Ireland crown on the line this weekend. Naomh Muire (Lower Rosses) this year’s Donegal Intermediate Comortas champions, are also flying the Donegal flag in the Kingdom.
They are both through to the semi-final with Glenfin first into action. They face local side Southern Gaels on Saturday afternoon and Naomh Muire go head to head with Moycullen from Galway, last year’s beaten finalists, on Sunday afternoon. The ladies final is also on Monday.