Hurling and camogie

Donegal's Setanta showing true warrior spirit to reach Ulster Club JHC Final

Setanta's Mark Callaghan (left) in action for Donegal. Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Francis Mooney

The numbers may be challenging at times, but the spirit of the legendary warrior who gave Setanta Hurling Club its name will never die.

The Donegal champions face Antrim's Shane O'Neill's in Sunday's Ulster Club JHC final with a fully committed squad of men, every one of them ready to go the distance for their cause.

"We might not have as big a squad as other clubs, but anybody that is there is putting in a shift, and anybody there can be used at any time," said team captain Mark Callaghan.

"We have a few boys carrying knocks, but we have a strong panel."

Setanta have come through a number of tight ties to get to the decider, and Callaghan expects the stiffest test to date from a team that plays its hurling in the stronghold of the Ulster game.

"Any team that comes out of Antrim, you know you're going to be up against it, but we're not going to bow down from the challenge.

"Our management will know enough about them, and we'll trust in them and go with their guidance."

Corner back Callaghan is one of a number of survivors from the team that won the provincial title in 2017, an experience he's looking forward to repeating.

"Maybe it will stand to us this weekend. It's a great feeling to be playing in an Ulster final."

As for the captaincy, he's grateful for the leadership qualities that many of his team-mates bring to the group.

"I could think of a few men who could be more deserving of it than myself, but I must be doing something right.

"There's leaders throughout the pitch there for us, and good quality all the way through, and it makes things a wee bit easier."

Setanta's warrior spirit has been evident throughout the season, notably in the county final, which was won after an extra-time battle against Burt.

"You could say we made things hard for ourselves, but Burt would give any team a run for their money, on their day, and we were just thankful that we got over the line."

And there were memorable tussles through the provincial series as well, as they came out on top against Eoghan Ruadh of Tyrone and Derry champions Na Magha.

"The Eoghan Ruadh game was another great battle, for Dungannon are a serious outfit, and we were thankful to get through that one. One or two things went our way, and didn't go their way, on the day.

"Against Na Magha, we got a bit of a lead up, and they maybe left things a wee bit too late, with too much work to do. But we were going well against them, things were firing, and it came together for us in that game."

Hurling and camogie