GAA Football

Odhran MacNiallais could be game changer for Gaoth Dobhair against Naomh Conaill

Gerry McLaughlin

Donegal SFC semi-final: Naomh Conaill v Gaoth Dobhair

The outcome of this eagerly-awaited Donegal county semi-final could hinge on the effect of the return of the natives.

For the talismanic Leo McLoone is back for Na Gleannta after a successful sojourn in the US where he helped Donegal to win a New York county final on the same weekend that he came on as a sub for Naomh Conaill in their narrow victory over a Hugh McFadden inspired Killybegs in the quarter-finals.

The ex-county player had a real captain's role for his club when 14-man Naomh Conaill beat St Eunan's in the county final in 2015.

And Martin Regan will be hoping for a similar display from McLoone against the feisty Gaeltacht men in Ballybofey tonight at 7.30 pm.

But there are some question marks about the level of McLoone's fitness that will be well tested by Gaoth Dobhair.

But in what looks like being a very tight encounter McLoone, with his vast strength and experience could be just to man to swing matters Naomh Conaill's way.

Gaoth Dobhair are also welcoming back an ex-county star in Odhran MacNiallais who was on the same victorious Donegal as McLoone in the Big Apple.

New Donegal boss Declan Bonner says he has already spoken to the duo that did not feature under Rory Gallagher last year.

But MacNiallais could definitely be a game changer for Gaoth Dobhair.

Naomh Conaill have been very enigmatic so far and were less than impressive in their quarter-final win over Killybegs.

Dermot “Brick' Molloy is a major figure on the 40 while Anthony Thompson, Ciaran Thompson, Brendan McDyer and Eoin Waide are also major players.

But this is a very difficult one to call and it could very well go to a replay.

However a piece of McLoone or MacNiallais magic could well be the deciding factor either way.

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