HERE it is. We are now in squeaky bum time in the Donegal Senior Championship with the semi-final pairings decided last weekend.
The standout clash is a repeat of last year‘s final between hot favourites St Eunan’s and also hotly fancied Naomh Conaill.
Before a championship ball was kicked, both of these names would have been on the lips of most people when they spoke about who might get their hands on the Dr Maguire Cup. One of them must fall this weekend.
The other semi-final sees my own club, Gaoth Dobhair, versus a vibrant Sean MacCumhaill’s side.
Looking at the first semi-final, which takes place on Saturday in O’Donnell Park, I’d like to think that my own club will have too much knowhow for this young MacCumhaill’s side. However, with semi-finals, you just never know.
MacCumhaill’s have been gathering momentum as the championship has progressed and with talisman Oisín Gallen finding his form, they are sure to be a match for anyone on their day.
MacCumhaill’s played out a very exciting game in the quarter-final with Glenswilly and with Gallen leading the line they turned in an impressive display to secure their semi-final spot.
Gaoth Dobhair eased past Ardara in the end, a crazy affair with eight goals scored.
We raced into a seven-point lead, but then Ardara hit us for three goals inside five minutes which made a contest of the game for a while, but in the end Gaoth Dobhair’s class shone through as they headed into the home straight.
I do think that this will be a close contest, but I believe that Gaoth Dobhair’s knowledge and know-how will see them into the final with two or three points to spare.
The other semi-final on Sunday in Ballybofey is the one that we have all been waiting for and it should be an unreal game of football.
These two met each other a number of weeks back in the group stages, and to say that there was a little bit of bad blood between them would be a massive understatement.
Let’s make no bones about it, these two clubs have zero time for each other, and they realise that they are each other’s main rivals to claiming the crown this year.
The group game in Glenties was played at a ferocious pace and intensity with St Eunan’s completely dominating the first half, but then Glenties did what Glenties do – they ground their way into the game and snatched a draw at the end.
This game could really go either way on Sunday but one thing is for sure, it won’t lack for excitement.
On paper, St Eunan’s have the more talented squad but Glenties have never been about talented individuals.
It has always more about the collective and that makes them extremely difficult to beat.
St Eunan’s felt hard done by in last year’s final so now they have the perfect opportunity to put things right.
I have been unsure all week about how this one will go but I’ve made my mind up.
I think St Eunan’s will just edge it to claim their place in the decider where they will face old rivals Gaoth Dobhair, as the two aristocrats of Donegal Senior football will do battle for yet another title in the county final.
As the club championship comes in towards its closing stages, one alarming aspect from a Donegal point of view is the lack of any possible new players putting up their hands for the Donegal senior football team.
I’ve seen quite a few games myself and from talking to a lot of other people there doesn’t seem to be any new names coming to the fore so it looks like Jim McGuinness (pictured) will have to build from pretty much what was there already.