By Shaun Casey
DONEGAL’S Danny Cullen believes his side are in “bonus territory” as they take on Wicklow this weekend in the Division 2B league semi-final. Donegal ousted Tyrone in the final round, with one point to spare, to take their place in the semi-final.
They’ve already met Wicklow once this year and that was a fairly one-sided affair, with Donegal losing by 19 points.
“They’re a good side and they’ve got a few boys back this year so they’re a formidable force,” said Cullen.
“It was one of those days where we didn’t really hurl well, and we were very flat. It was nice to get the response against Tyrone last weekend, we upped the intensity which was great to see. The work-rate in the forward line was huge.
“So, it’s bonus territory and we’ll go into this game and give it a lash and you never know what could happen. We’re aiming for a better performance against them than we got the last time so that’s the main thing. Our main target would have been to make sure that we stayed in the division because it’s a very competitive division.
“Especially with the likes of Mayo and Roscommon down in Division 3A, we think it’s important for us to keep playing at this standard and maintaining our status at it.
“It must be three or four years now that we’ve stayed in it and we’ve very happy with that and I think it’s very important for the progression of the team.”
Donegal reached the same stage of the competition last season but lost to Sligo by one point. Following their 2-24 to 0-11 defeat to Wicklow, Donegal bounced back with a 1-18 to 1-17 victory over Tyrone.
“It was a bonus getting to the semi-final last year and even this year, it is nice to get to this stage. We’ve been struggling a wee bit with injuries and stuff like that and you’re straight into your championship as well so that’s the priority at the end of the day. But the league semi-final, it’s bonus territory for us now.
“It was certainly a tough task but at the same time you never want to be beat by Tyrone especially after the last two years we lost to them in the semi-finals of the Nickey Rackard Cup.
“So definitely we didn’t want to be losing three in a row to Tyrone. In fairness to the boys, they played well in the second half when their backs were against the wall, they got the last few scores just to see out the game.”
Cullen has been out injured for the majority of the league campaign, missing the last three games, but should be back in the green and gold for the championship.
“There’s three of four of us out injured at the minute and it’s obviously very important to try and keep everyone fit. I’d be hoping now in the next two or three weeks that I’d be back playing. We’re all gearing towards the championship now at this stage.”