Lacey a doubt for Masters as they prepare to face St Michael's
RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Donegal SFC
FOUR MASTERS and St Michael's is the plum draw in the resumed Donegal Senior Football Championship on Saturday evening.
It is the first of eight fixtures down for decision this weekend and is an encounter in which the extremely youthful home side will be hoping to prevail. But the Donegal Town side is clearly in transition and fielded nine U21 players in their starting line up for last Sunday’s quasi-relegation clash with fellow strugglers Ardara.
The Masters lost ace free taker Michael Doherty and face a really tough test against the Creeslough Dunfanaghy side, who are always the nearly men.
The Colm McFadden, Martin McElhinney, Christy Toye and Daniel McLaughlin-powered side have been threatening to take a first ever Dr Maguire for several seasons, but seemed to dip when the real pressure came on. They currently top the Division One table and are warmly fancied.
Masters will be minus Doherty and there must be a major doubt over four-time Allstar Karl Lacey, who did not tog out for last week’s league encounter in Pearse Park, Ardara.
Down the road in Killybegs, the home side face a mammoth task against feisty neighbours Kilcar at the Éamon Byrne Memorial Park. The Fishermen have lost 10 players to emigration in the past 18 months and now operate out of Division Two, while Kilcar are the reigning Division One league champions.
The blue and gold men from Towney have Ryan McHugh, Mark McHugh, Eoin McHugh, Paddy McBrearty, Stephen McBrearty and the ageless Michael Hegarty to power their efforts. Killybegs will be looking to the youthful Hugh McFadden, Eoghan and John Bán Gallagher, Brendan Maguire and Daniel Breslin for inspiration.
But it should be an easy derby victory for Kilcar.
Down at the Banks, Naomh Muire will be hoping to upset their Division Two league leaders from Termon.
Hugh Boyle, Shaun Boyle, Johnny McCafferty and Dara White inspire Naomh Muire, and they had a good league victory over Fanad Gaels last weekend.
Opponents Termon had to rely on a last minute equaliser from trusty marksman Daire McDaid to draw a lively league encounter with a very youthful Naomh Columba last weekend. McDaid, Kevin McElwaine, Christy Conaghan and Oliver Doherty remain solid figures for the men from the Burn.
This could be a very close one to call, with home advantage possibly shading it for Naomh Muire.
Finally, home side Seán MacCumhaill's face a huge task against a reasonably strong Gaoth Dobhair outfit in Ballybofey. MacCumhaill's had a massive home victory over Cloughaneely last weekend, with team captain Barney Laverty, Alan Patton and Martin O’Reilly all finding the net.
But they face a tough task against a Gaoth Dobhair side who should have Éamon McGee, Odhrán MacNiallais, James Gallagher and a raft of minor talent to throw in. The mercurial Kevin Cassidy and a few of the younger players are back from their summer trip to the States.
Full-back Neil McGee remains a doubt after he had to go off with a rib injury in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Mayo. However, Gaoth Dobhair should still have a bit too much power for the men from the Twin Towns.