Donegal set their sights on derby clash

By Michael McMullan

SOMETHING has to give on Saturday in Letterkenny as Donegal lock horns with neighbours Derry (O’Donnell Park, 2.30pm).

Mickey McCann’s men were comfortable winners over Wicklow in their opening game having already won the Conor McGurk in pre-season. McCann will be hoping the injuries that forced new skipper Conor Gartland and Josh McGee Cronolly off won’t have an impact on their league campaign. Gartland picked up an impact injury in the latter stages with McGee Cronolly pulling up with tightness in his leg.

Donegal face Derry team who hit two goals to see off Tyrone in their opening game after leading 0-14 to 0-1 at one stage in the first half.

“We watched them and they are a very big physical side and have those great Sleacht Néill hurlers like Sean Cassidy, Meehaul McGrath and Cormac O’Doherty hitting the frees,” McCann (pictured) told the Donegal News.

“They are the favourites in our group and are pretty much fancied for the Christy Ring Cup as well so we know what we are up against.”

The commanding manner of Donegal’s win came with the caveat of Wicklow changing their manager in the days before the game.

“The young lads have been working hard in the gym and they do their programmes,” McCann said of his side’s progress.

“We have big men like Liam McKinney, Conor Gartland, Steven McBride, Josh McGee Cronolly, Sean Ward and Oisin Marley who are all over six foot and carry a lot of power and that is very important at this time of the year.”

Donegal will also have to factor in the long-range scoring of Derry’s Corey O’Reilly and Ruairi Ó Mianáin. The latter made his senior debut after a starring role in Derry’s u-20 All-Ireland win last season with O’Reilly bagging 1-4 in a man of the match performance against Tyrone.

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