There were, again, plenty of talking points from this weekend’s games in the 2018 Donegal Senior Football Championship.
1. Gaoth Dobhair look ‘ready’ again
Gaoth Dobhair stand alongside St Eunan’s at the head of Donegal’s honours list having won Dr Maguire 14 times.
There have been a lot of barren winters since the days of 2002 and 2006 when they were last kings.
Having won Division 1 this year and ended their latest trophy famine, Gaoth Dobhair – with an admirable array of talent all through their squad – have been talked about as being Championship favourites this year.
Drawn in a group of death with St Eunan’s and Naomh Conaill, Gaoth Dobhair have put both to the sword so far.
Kevin Cassidy spoke after Sunday’s win over Naomh Conaill about a group that was finally pulling together – something, he noted, that has held back many Gaoth Dobhair teams over the years.
They look ready again.
2. St Eunan’s, Naomh Conaill need to address attack deficiencies
St Eunan’s are ordering at the last-chance saloon this weekend. And they go to Glenties to face their old adversaries, Naomh Conaill, who are in a similar pickle.
Only one of them will join Gaoth Dobhair in the last eight.
For both, there have been concerns in attack of late.
Naomh Conaill did post 4-16 on the opening weekend, but that was against the out-of-sorts Dungloe. More pertinently for Martin Regan’s side will have been the 15 wides registered in Magheragallon and scoring just one point for the duration of the second half.
On match day one, St Eunan’s scored only one second-half point – that from Niall O’Donnell in the game’s dying moments – against Gaoth Dobhair and there were periods on Saturday evening when they also misfired against Dungloe.
It’s win or bust for St Eunan’s this weekend.
3. Goal-keen Sean MacCumhaills follow one big win up with another
Sean MacCumhaills raised eyebrows on the opening weekend when they hit four goals in an away win over Milford.
Few had predicted that Bernard McGeehan’s men would advance to the quarter-finals but they’ve done just that – and with a game to spare.
On Sunday, Aaron Kelly’s hat-trick was key in a 3-12 to 0-15 win.
The win means MacCumhaills now battle with Kilcar to see who tops the group. Seven goals in they first two Championship matches represents a fine return for MacCumhaills, who have already clinched promotion to Division 1.
4. Termon need to find their way again
After closing out their League campaign with the away win at MacCumhaills they needed to stay above Division 2’s low-water mark, Termon have lost their way again.
It has been a topsy-turvy season fro the Burn Road residents.
At one stage, after winning six-in-a-row, there were thoughts of promotion.
But, four League defeats on the bounce scuppered those notions and they scrambled to survival on the final night.
Their opening two games in the Championship have yielded heavy 16 and 11-point losses to St Michael’s and Malin.
Termon, with two wins from their last eight matches, need a response – and a result – when they face Four Masters this weekend.
5. Glenswilly remain one to avoid
It has often been said that Glenswilly are at their most dangerous when their backs are against the wall.
And so it proved again on Sunday.
After an opening day loss to Ardara, Glenswilly needed – and got – a win against Bundoran at Pairc Naomh Columba.
Michael Murphy’s goal after just nine seconds set the tone for the Glenmen.
A win this weekend against Burt will put them to the quarter-finals when no-one will want to be paid alongside them.
6. Battles at both ends make for a big weekend
There are eight games pencilled in for this weekend, the final round of group games, and with the exception of one – the Dungloe v Gaoth Dobhair match – there is something at stake in each of them.
Regardless of the result this weekend, Gaoth Dobhair have topped that group while Dungloe will be in a relegation play-off.
There are big prizes and consequences on offer in each of the others, with places in the quarter-finals on offer for some and, for others, the weekend offers the chance to avoid dreaded play-off.Tags: