Donegal focusing on their own house

By Michael McMullan

THERE are many potential score difference permutations on the table this weekend but Donegal hurlers hold their own passport to where they want to go.

Mickey McCann’s side host London on Sunday in Letterkenny knowing they can fulfil their goal of a top three finish.

With Derry already in the league final, Donegal can book a semi-final spot and a place in Division Two, the third tier of a new five-division NHL format for 2025.

“It is about keeping your own house in order and try to get victory in Letterkenny,” McCann said.

“London are going to be a tough ask and if we get over the line against them we’ll be doing well. If we beat them, it opens the door for Tyrone to qualify too.”

Donegal will need a more clinical edge after they registered 18 wides against Roscommon.

McCann has been impressed by Derry who he feels are “a step ahead” in the league. He is also pleased with how his squad have absorbed their seven absentees from last season.

Regulars Christy McDermott, Richie Ryan and Michael Donoghue all opted out.

Ronan McDermott missed much of the season with a cruciate injury while Daire Ó Maoileidigh is only coming back into the fray.

McDermott and Danny Cullen are expected to be back midway through the championship season with Declan Coulter not far from a return.

“To be fair, it has been very pleasing with the injuries to the high profile players who were missing,” McCann said.

“To be in the position we are in with the squad we have after the injuries, it is very pleasing.”

Among the newcomers, Liam McKinney, Conor Gartland, Josh Cronolly McGee and Ruairi Campbell have also stepped up to bolster their panel.

“They’ve had to take up more senior roles and become leaders very quick,” McCann added. “Oisin Grant of Buncrana was on the panel a few years ago but opted out as he was away working.

“He had his first start last weekend (against Roscommon) and he was one of our best players

“They have all stepped up and are very eager. The position we are in, the panel is very strong and these boys are going to be pushing to make it hard for the other boys to get back into the team.”

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