Donegal and Down to fight for early season silverware

By Niall McCoy

THE last two champions, Donegal and Down, will battle it out for some early season silverware in the Conor McGurk final at the Dub on Saturday.

It’s the third straight final for Mickey McCann’s Tir Chonaill side who lifted the trophy for the first time last year after a five-goal final display against Ulster University.

They sealed another final berth on Tuesday following a hard-fought 2-16 to 1-12 win over a previously free-scoring Fermanagh outfit.

Only a few points separated the sides heading into the final five minutes but a brace of goals from Josh Cronnolly McGee sealed the deal with Luca McCusker responding in kind for the Erne County with a green flag.

Down had a point to spare when they defeated Donegal in the 2022 decider – and that was their margin of victory in this year’s quarter-final against Louth.

It was a different story in Tuesday’s semi-final though as they racked up a huge 3-28 tally in their nine-point win over Antrim.

They had actually trailed by three points at half-time at Dunsilly, but second-half majors from Tim Prenter, Chris Egan and Daithi Sands saw them home.

Prenter was involved in all three goals while Pearse Óg McCrickard racked up an impressive 11 points, four of those coming from play from the Liatroim man.

Given the strength of both attacks, expect a high-scoring decider – and for Down to wrestle back the title.

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