A familiar foe for Donegal’s league opener

By Michael McMullan

DONEGAL hurlers get their league season off the ground this weekend with an away trip to take on Wicklow in Aughrim on Sunday.

Mickey McCann is on board for a seventh season as manager and they’ll be looking to go one better than last season when they fell to Meath in the league final and missed out on promotion. They did however finish with silverware in the form of the Nickey Rackard Cup following victory over Sunday’s opponents Wicklow.

It has been a fruitful off-season for hurling in the county. Setanta stepped up a grade to win the Ulster Intermediate title with St Eunan’s having an impressive run at junior level.

At county level, Donegal were again winners of the Conor McGurk Cup, the pre-season hosted by Queen’s University Belfast. Wicklow’s off-season has been less positive. Manager Casey O’Brien and his management team stepped down last week with Jonathan ‘Bosco’ O’Neill coming in on Monday.

In a group that also includes Ulster rivals Derry and Tyrone – who meet on Sunday – McCann will be hoping the pep in their step will help them return with both points from their first league outing.

McCann has named 20-year-old Conor Gartland as the captain for the season ahead. Donegal will be depleted with Danny Cullen’s shoulder injury ruling him out for the league.

Ronan McDermott’s cruciate injury will almost certainly rule him out with Declan Coulter also a doubt and close to half of last year’s side unavailable for a number or reasons.

Sean McVeigh, Gerard Gilmore and Josh McGee Cronolly will all hold keys to Donegal’s performance.

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