Ocean FM's Paddy Gill
Peter Campbell gets the view of Ocean FM's Paddy McGill on senior championship games this weekend
St Michael’s v Gaoth Dobhair
The Bridge, Saturday, 3pm
“This is the tie of the second round. There are two big question marks surrounding this game. No 1, can St Michael’s get back into the top four. They went to Towney last year and felt aggrieved by decisions as they staged a great comeback. I wonder if they are a little tired of this top four talk.
“They might not be as good as they were seven or eight years ago. People are waiting for Colm McFadden to retire, but he is still going strong. He is rolling back the ages.
“I expect both these teams to make it to the last eight, but there is more than making it to the last eight from this game. I think there is a statement to be made here by St Michael’s. They ran Kilcar close last year; this weekend they can say to themselves, beat Gaoth Dobhair and maybe we’re a top four side again.
“And equally, I have been talking to a lot of Gaoth Dobhair people and there is a concern in Magheragallon that maybe they’re not in this top three, four anymore; that their high came a few years ago with the Ulster title.
“Gaoth Dobhair will be saying to themselves, the game can make a big statement for them too. They can say, we are still a top, top side. Even without the McGees, they still have a lot of good players.
“A very, very tight game and it’s just so hard to call. It could be a very low scoring game.”
Milford v Ardara
Moyle View, Saturday, 3pm
“I hate the cliche, it’s a tough place to go, but Milford could be a tricky match for Ardara. Ardara is making steady progress. They have the steady soldiers in Conor Classon, Paddy McGrath and CJ Molloy. They have introduced a lot of young players like Daryl Maguire and Matthew Sweeney and now it’s about merging those.
“If Ardara are not on it, 9/10 or 10/10 this is more than a banana skin for them. Milford have very good forwards with the Barretts, Cathal McGettigan and Tony McNamee. Maybe the defence has been their issue. They have Rory O’Donnell, the Co U-20 captain this year as well.
“A lot may depend on Paddy McGrath’s availability. He has been in brilliant form in recent games. He was carrying a knock the last day. If he is not able to play, then this could be very, very close.”
“I still expect Ardara to just about come out on top.”
Termon v St Eunan’s
Burn Road, Saturday, 4pm
“After round one St Eunan’s probably feel the most disappointed, having led Kilcar by six points. After throwing away that lead at home, they will beat Termon quite comfortably. There might be an anger in that camp in how they threw away that game.
“Everyone in the county knows the talent they have but there could be a hurt dressing room and they could take it out on Termon, who are playing a waiting game at this level. They had 11 players playing at weekend against St Naul’s who are still under 23. We know about their underage structure.
“Termon are trying to stay afloat in the senior championship for another year or two, waiting for these young troops to arrive.
“St Eunan’s capitulation (maybe that’s a harsh word) against Kilcar; we won’t know about St Eunan’s until they meet another top team, but I believe they will win this game quite comfortably.”
Verdict: St Eunan’s
Bundoran v Killybegs
Gaelic Park, Saturday,4:30pm
“The biggest question about this game is who is going to be available. I mentioned that St Eunan’s would be the most disappointed from the first round, but that may be unfair to Killybegs. Maybe it wasn’t a huge shock, but at home they would have been disappointed with the result against Glenswilly.
“We don’t know if Eoghan Bán Gallagher or Hugh McFadden will be playing.
“Then for Bundoran we don’t know if Paul Brennan will be available; Ciaran McCaughey got married last weekend and we don’t know if he will be there. Bundoran were without Alan Russell, Jamie Brennan, Diarmuid Spratt, Peter McGonigle and Paul Murphy and Spratt might be the only one of those available.
“You could have very depleted squads. And this is a huge game for both. The losers of this game are going to be in big, big trouble as there is no middle ground with the top eight going to the quarter-finals and the bottom eight in the relegation battle.
“Arguably, it is the hardest game to call this weekend because of the unknowns. If Killybegs had their county players, I would probably go for them, but if they are missing, Bundoran might nick it.”
Verdict: Depends on who’s available (see above)
Glenswilly v MacCumhaill’s
Pairc Naomh Columba, Sunday 12 noon
“Glenswilly epitomises everything about a team that can show up on a championship day. Their performances last year, they were completely on the slide, but they went to Fintra - maybe it wasn’t the shock of the year, but it was the way they went about it. They are just so well structured.
“They have a couple of good U-20s there now alongside the main man, Michael Murphy. I know it has been said, but he must give to that club team when he comes back, in terms of what he does on the pitch and off the pitch; it must be just incredible for those young guys.
“There is all this talk of maybe St Michael’s being the fifth best team; Glenswilly after that win, if they can get another win against MacCumhaill’s, they can feel that they go on a really good run in this championship.
“MacCumhaill’s, we have been waiting a year or two for them to come as well. But they lacked a cutting edge against St Michael’s and they will be disappointed at throwing away that lead they had, particularly at home. They had a chance to make a statement, now they have to go to play a Glenswilly team, whose tails are up. A second defeat would be devastating for MacCumhaill’s.
“It’s a difficult one to call but with the momentum with the win in Killybegs, Glenswilly can come out on top by a point or two.”
Aodh Ruadh v Naomh Conaill
Pairc Aodh Ruaidh, Sunday, 2 pm
“I watched Aodh Ruadh against Four Masters and first of all it’s great to see the green and white black. They put in a proud performance but it comes with a little bit of a caveat. Four Masters are a bit like Termon, playing a waiting game on young players to come through.
“But there was nothing Aodh Ruadh could do about that. They look like a really well coached team who are really, really playing for their manager. They have a strong spine from Colm Kelly and t Nathan Boyle gave a 9/10, 10/10 performance. He was sublime. I thought young Mark McGlynn was excellent. They worked really, really hard. They are at home but they are coming up against a top side.
“People might say after the Glenfin game that there are chinks in the Naomh Conaill armour but I don’t think Naomh Conaill will be too upset about Glenfin coming within three points of them. In fact, I think it might help and sharpen the knives in Glenties. Naomh Conaill knows, a bit like Kilcar, that performances in the group stages are about doing enough to win their games.
“We don’t really know what Naomh Conaill is doing in training. They might be trying out different systems, little game plans for later in the year. They will come up against a well drilled side and I think Aodh Ruadh will give it to them for 30, 35 minutes, but I think Naomh Conaill will run out comfortable winners in the last 15 or 20 minutes.
“It will be a brilliant experience for the home side.”
Verdict: Naomh Conaill
Glenfin v St Naul’s
Pairc Taobhoige, Sunday, 2:30pm
“Last year these sides came into their meeting with a win each. St Naul’s were depleted being without Daniel Brennan and Peadar Mogan.They left that day very annoyed at their performance.
“These sides have met a lot in the last few years. St Naul’s will be happy with a workmanlike performance in getting over Termon. They got a few new players.
“And although Glenfin lost against Naomh Conaill, and they will never be happy with losing a game, but deep inside they will take a huge amount from last weekend’s game. Look, how many teams can run Naomh Conaill to three points? Jason Morrow is a really good footballer and Gerard Ward inside, if you look at his performances over the last number of years, absolutely nothing short of sublime.
"Last year he kicked 1-8, 1-9 against St Naul’s. So there will be no great surprise there, St Naul’s will have to tie up Gerard Ward. They know if they do that, they will have a lot of the spadework done.
“Glenfin remind me of a club who are maximising their talent to the full. They have a couple of young players coming through. They feel that a win will give them momentum.
“It will be very close but I think Glenfin will come out on top by two points.”
Kilcar v Four Masters
Towney, Sunday, 4.30pm
“Not to be in any way patronising towards Four Masters because at underage they are the envy of nearly every club in south Donegal at the moment, this is a difficult game.
“I spoke to Barry Dunnion after the Milford game last year and for them it’s about staying in the senior championship for the next two or three years.
“They had so many debutants last week and have so many players coming through. They won last year’s minor championship a few weeks ago.
“If they can stay in the senior championship, they are going to have so, so much talent coming through.
“They have had a little instability with the management change and although they took a tanking against Aodh Ruadh, they didn’t put their heads down. They kept going.
“Unfortunately for the Donegal Town men, they are going to a club who can dish out hammerings. Many felt there might be a little bit of a hangover for Kilcar after the county final coming up against a really good St Eunan’s team.
“But that character and resilience, what they showed in the second half to drag themselves back into it. With some remarkable displays from the likes of Matthew McClean. Kilcar will take so much from that win.
“Look, it will be no shame for Four Masters if they take a tanking. Kilcar will win it quite comfortably and it will come down to how much they want to win it by. Will they try out new players in the last 20, 25 minutes?
"It will be a difficult day for Four Masters.”
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