BY CHRIS MCNULTY
DONEGAL will face Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park
on Sunday August 28th at 3.30pm after the Dubs thumped Tyrone by seven
points in the last of the quarter-finals on Saturday evening.
Pat Gilroy’s side swept aside the Tyrone challenge to win 0-22 to
0-15, with Diarmuid Connolly, Alan Brogan and Bernard Brogan all
starring in a quite magnificent display by the blues.
That tees up an eagerly-anticipated semi-final against Donegal in
three weeks’ time. A capacity crowd is expected at headquarters with
swift ticket sales now expected with the Dubs the big draw when autumn
swings into action.
In an irresistible display, perhaps the best performance of the
Championship to date, the Dubs hit 19 points from play with Connolly
hitting seven of those to demolish the Red Hands.
“Looking at the game, Dublin were very impressive,” said Donegal
manager Jim McGuinness who was in Croke Park to cast an eye over their
“They scored 20 points from play, they are very well-conditioned and
are a very strong team.
“They seem to be a team on a mission, but we feel that we have earned
the right to be here and this is a big opportunity for us against one
of the best teams in the country.”
It has been confirmed that an MRI scan on Michael Hegarty’s injured
knee has not shown any ligament damage, with bruising the extent of
the Kilcar man’s ailment. While he still faces a fitness battle in the
coming weeks, Donegal sources say they’re confident of him being in
the shake-up for the semi-final.
McGuinness had attentions focussed on the club action in Donegal this
weekend where many of his county stars were in club championship
County captain Michael Murphy started on the edge of the square for
Glenswilly in their quarter-final against St Eunan’s yesterday.
The 22-year old had been struggling with a hamstring injury having
been unable to start for Donegal in their clash with Kildare last week
and despite rumours that he would be held in reserve, he was in from
the start – and played the full game in the drawn affair.
Rory Kavanagh was sent off late in that game, but he, Kevin Rafferty
and Neil Gallagher also seemed to come through without any further
On Saturday night, Leo McLoone turned in an excellent display for his
club Naomh Conaill, scoring a goal in their League win over Dungloe –
his first game since sustaining a nasty eye injury last month.
Paddy McGrath, Frank McGlynn, Paul Durcan and Karl Lacey all came
through Championship action on Saturday evening unscathed.
Last night provided the biggest test for McGuinness’s finger nails
with seven of his players in action as Gaoth Dobhair and St Michael’s
went toe-to-toe, but all of Neil McGee, Eamon McGee, Kevin Cassidy,
Christy Toye, Colm McFadden, Martin McElhinney and Daniel McLaughlin
played the full game.