WITH the four Area Finals of the Brian Mc Cormick Cup due to take place this Sunday, St. Catherine’s and Copany Rovers met last night, Thursday, to establish who will play Dunkineely Celtic in the Donegal Area decider.
Although they will not know, until after last night’d play-off, who they will face in the Donegal Area Final on Sunday afternoon Dunkineely Celtic will be preparing as best they can with the desire that the Area Shield will remain at Darney Park after Sunday’s action.
Of the thirty nine Donegal Junior League clubs Dunkineely Celtic are one of only three who came through the Group stages with 100 per cent records.
Despite the fact that the club have not managed to win their Area Final since 2004 they hold an important historical link with the competition. On it’s inception in the 1996 / ’97 season Dunkineely Celtic were the first Brian Mc Cormick Cup winners. On the team that day was Aiden Duddy who is now the manager of the team. An Area Shield victory would in some ways be a fitting start to Duddy’s current term in charge having taken over in the Summer from last season’s manager Malachy Byrne.
Of their potential opponents St. Catherine’s would by far have the greater history in this competition. Indeed they hold a record that will take a momentous effort to equal or surpass.
The Emerald Park outfit won the Area Shield Final for five successive seasons from 2004 / ’05 to 2008 / ’09. The victorious run came among a series on nine seasons within which they won the Area Final on seven occasions.
Current team manager Brian Dorrian would love to be taking the Shield back to the Port Town on Sunday evening.
For that to happen they firstly need to navigate the difficult play-off against Copany Rovers and then defeat their nearest rivals.
For their part Copany Rovers will not let history distract their thoughts of appearing in this season’s Donegal Area Final.
Their one previous Area Final appearance, since the competition became the Brian Mc Cormick Cup, ended in defeat by Donegal Town at the start of the 2011 /’12 season.
The Killowen Park men did win the Area Final on two successive years when the competition was known as the Sportsmans’ Cup.
For those two victories they defeated Ardara Town in 1994 and Donegal Town in 1995. Come Sunday evening any one of these three clubs, who have each enjoyed good early season form, could be holding aloft the Donegal Area Shield.
Letterkenny Area Final
Rathmullan Celtic will attempt to take the next step in their defence of the Brian McCormick Cup when they entertain Milford United in the Letterkenny Area Final at Flag Pole Field on Sunday.
Last season’s Cup Champions secured the trophy when they defeated Glenea United in an entertaining match at the Oaktree Complex in Killygordan. That match, watched by a sizeable crowd, went all the way to the wire with Rathmullan getting the winning goal in the last five minutes having earlier equalised Glenea’s lead goal.
This term the Seasiders have a new management team in place and the duo of Patrick Patton and Paddy Sheridan would surely love to emulate Mark Curran’s achievement of season 2012 / ’13.
In Sunday’s Area Final they come up against Milford United who prevailed in Group Two of the Letterkenny Area. Milford United have won the Brian McCormick Cup on three previous occasions and have appeared in many Area Finals. Sunday’s decider is hard to call and although some may say that Rathmullan have the momentum, Milford are a never say die outfit who will fight until the final whistle in an effort to bring the Area Final Shield to Moyle View.
Gweedore Area Final
Glenea United must travel to Central Park, Keadue to contest the Gweedore Area Final of this season’s Brian Mc Cormick Cup. Last season’s beaten finalists will be looking to go one better this term and have won Group Two of the Gweedore Area with ten points, remaining undefeated.
Not since 2009 have the Glasserchoo men got their hands on the Brian McCormick Cup and last season’s Final defeat was their first appearance since 2009 as Gweedore Celtic had dominated the competition both in the Area and overall in the intervening three years.
An Area Final victory over Keadue Rovers on Sunday would give them a passport to represent the Area in the latter stages of the competition. Keadue Rovers go into Sunday’s Area Final having won all three of their Group Games.
Despite winning the Sportsmans’ Cup on several occasions the Central Park men haven’t been as successful since the dawning of the Brian Mc Cormick Cup era.
Sunday will present an opportunity for them to start a new Cup chapter in their long and illustrious history.
Dethroning the current Area Champions will be no easy task but some of Keadue’s greatest achievements in the past have come when against the odds, their last minute winner against Ballybofey United in 2012 to claim the Donegal League Division Two Title stands as the most recent example.
Lifford Area Fina
The Lifford Area Final also takes place on Sunday afternoon and this is one that is certainly hard to call. Four different names have been etched on the Area Shield in the last four seasons and that figure could advance to five depending on Sunday’s result.
For that to happen Drumoghill F.C. will need to leave Park View having defeated the local Castlefin Celtic side on their own patch.
Drumoghill F.C., currently under the management of Michael Lynch, have been impressive in their Group games.
Seasoned players such as Carlos Rodgers and Christopher O’ Donnell could be the ones who see the men from “The Moss” claim the Lifford Area crown come Sunday evening.
Castlefin Celtic last won the Lifford Area Final in 2011 / ’12 and have had reasonable success in the competition over the years.
The most relevant of these successes came in the 2007 / ’08 season when they defeated Sunday’s opponents Drumoghill F.C. in the decider.
Will they again triumph over the “Moss” side or will Lynch’s troops add their name to the ever changing list on the Lifford Area Shield?
An entertaining match is in prospect here between two evenly balanced sides.
League Secretary Christina O’ Donnell will, on Sunday evening when the action has been completed, be able to start her guest list for the 2014 Annual League Presentation Function. Nine names are currently in the hat with four places.
Who the four will be remains to be seen but one thing that is known is the fact that the action will be well worth watching as this Donegal Junior League season yields it’s first silverware.
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