NAOMH Conaill star midfielder Leo McLoone is expecting a much more intense battle with St Eunan’s in next week’s championship clash in Davy Brennan Memorial Park.
Speaking after his side’s comprehensive victory over Killybegs by 3-12 to 1-5, the ex- Donegal star said he felt there was good intensity to the League final in which they defeated St Eunan’s by 0-9 to 1-5.
“I felt there was good intensity and it was a good run-out and maybe both teams did not show too much tactically.
“But we are expecting a much tougher test next week and we hope to win on our home patch.
“It is the only way to go to bring yourself and the team on.
McLoone noted that Niall O’Donnell was back playing for Eunan’s last weekend and Shane and Conor Snr’s returns are also imminent as they were on the bench.
“They are three quality players and are a big addition to any team and it will be a different game to the League final.
“It will be much more intense and championship always goes up another notch and it will be no different next Sunday.
On his team’s heavy defeat of Killybegs, McLoone said they did not panic when the home side got an early goal.
“We got a foothold in the game and began to control matters.
“I thought we made the right decisions at the right time and that was important too.”
“We are always trying to do better and trying to get back to where we were last year and it will not be easy to retain the title and we are looking at it, game by game.”
And St Eunan’s manager Rory Kavanagh is expecting Sunday’s clash to be a difficult one for his side to prevail in.
The last two championship finals have been contested by this pair, with St Eunan’s coming out on top in 2021 and Naomh Conaill prevailing in 2022.
And when the two sides met earlier this year in the league, they played out a draw while the aforementioned final saw the Glenties men come out on top by a point.
But Kavanagh knows it’ll be a different battle away from home.
“They’re very consistent and it’ll be a big ask for us to go down there. They’ve been the standard bearers over the last ten years or so. They’ve been the main team in Donegal and for us, we’re going to have to improve and it’ll take a big performance.”