Hurling & Camogie

Donegal’s Declan Coulter to sit out McGurk Cup and Allianz Hurling League

Former Armagh forward Declan Coulter is one of the key players in the Setanta attack            Picture: Margaret McLaughlin
Declan Coulter has indicated he will take a break from county hurling following Setanta's defeat in the All-Ireland Club IHC semi-final against Thomastown on Sunday Picture: Margaret McLaughlin

Donegal will not have the services of the vastly experienced Declan Coulter, as team boss Mickey McCann prepares to defend the Conor McGurk Cup and gets ready for the NHL at the end of next month.

Coulter (36) has been dogged with niggling injuries, but had no real time to rest owing to Setanta’s great run through Ulster - a run that came crashing to a halt against a superb Thomastown side in Páirc Esler on Sunday.

A disappointed Coulter said after his side’s heavy defeat by 6-26 to 1-8 to a brilliant Thomastown side, that he was planning to take a rest after a long season and he could be joined by some of his club colleagues who have also had a long year.

“The body needs a rest, but if the option is open, I don’t plan to come back to the county scene until the Nickey Rackard Cup,” he said.

“I intend to sit it out for the National League.”

Donegal were narrowly defeated in last year’s Rackard Cup final by a towering Wicklow side by 1-20 to 3-12, but Coulter was offering no excuses for his side’s heavy defeat on Sunday, congratulating Thomastown on a most emphatic victory.

“You have to hand it to them.

“We thought we might hold them at the start but they were flying.

“Sometimes you have to hold up your hands and say that they were a much slicker, fitter and better hurling team on the day.

“But we are still proud of our achievements this year and today does not take away in any way from what we have done this year.

“As a club we can be very proud of ourselves and will wish Thomastown all the best in the final against Castlelyons.”

Coulter agreed that the sheer size and power of Thomastown was particularly awesome.

“Just when you thought you were at full pace and a maximum sprint, they were just easing past us.

“It was a very fair and clean game. It was very hard to make any real impression on them and they were just too good.”

“But it has been a brilliant year, for us and we have a very small panel of around 20 but still managed to beat teams in Ulster who had up on 30 of a panel.

“The club can hold its head high as we have played the game in the right spirit and carried ourselves well and we got to a level that nobody thought was possible.

“I believe we can build on that.”