THIS weekend the semi-finals of the Donegal senior football championship take place as the last four teams in the county do battle in the race for the Dr Maguire Cup.
Long before the competition started, all the talk was about the big four and indeed it has been that way for the last 10 years or so.
St Eunan’s, Gaoth Dobhair Glenties and Kilcar have dominated senior football, so it’s no surprise that the four of them made it through this year’s semi-final.
Gaoth Dobhair probably got the biggest fright in the quarter-final, having to fight to the very end for a narrow win over an up-and-coming Aodh Rua Ballyshannon team.
St Eunan’s and Kilcar eased their way into the semi-finals with comfortable wins against St Michael’s and Killybegs, with neither team really having to move out of second gear.
Glenswilly gave Glenties a bit of a scare on the Sunday and only for some poor shooting particular in the first half they would have pushed Glenties even further.
Credit must go to Glenties though. They showed their experience, turning on the burners just at the right time to take their place in the semi-finals.
We are in for two cracking contest this weekend, as all four teams are evenly matched and well capable of beating one another on any given day.
At this moment in time over the course of the season, St Eunan’s would be the favourites to retain the title but I’m sure if you speak to any of the other three teams they would fancy the chances against them in a once off match.
The first semi-final takes place on Saturday evening when St Eunan’s and Kilcar lock horns and this should be an interesting battle on all levels.
Eunan’s are an extremely well balanced team, solid throughout the pitch and it would be difficult to sit down and pick any weak links in their team. That has been their strength this season.
Kilcar, on the other hand, have a number of individuals within their team well capable of winning a game on the own any day they take to the field.
It will be interesting to see how both teams set up against each other and how they try to go about nullify the threats that each team poses. Gaoth Dobhair against Glenties is another interesting tussle because both teams are in a very different place right now. Both of these teams have been a powerhouse over the last number of years but we all know Father Time waits for no man and both teams are facing up to that fact right now.
Gaoth Dobhair are in the middle of a transitional phase at the moment, with a massive turnover of players from two or three years ago. The dressing room is a very different place than what it was when we last won the title.
Glenties, on the other hand, have pretty much the same squad and that in itself brings its own problems. When you look at their squad as a whole, a lot of their big players are well into their 30s so this may well be the last roll the dice for this Glenties team who have served their club so well over the last number of years.
I think both games will be exciting to watch and I’m really looking forward to the championship catching fire this weekend as we waited so long for it.
As I said earlier all of these teams are well capable of beating each other on any given day so they will hold not fear so it really could go anyway this weekend. For me I think that St Eunan’s will have too much for Kilcar and I have to go with my heart and say that Gaoth Dobhair’s rawness and youthful approach may just see them over the line in the second semi-final.
In other news Dessie Farrell casually dropped the news that Paul Mannion and Jake McCaffrey are to return to the Dublin squad for the upcoming season so things just got a little bit more interesting and Dublin May once again be building for a shot at Sam Maguire.