BY CHRIS MCNULTY
PRIOR to Wednesday night’s Under-21 game between Donegal and Fermanagh in Ballybofey, the Donegal Competitions Controls Committee conducted the draws for the Intermediate, Junior and Under-21 Football Championships.
The first round of the Intermediate Championship is to be run off on a round robin basis this year for the first time.
Cloughaneely have dropped down from senior football from last year and are included in Group 2 with last year’s beaten Intermediate finalists, St Naul’s. East Donegal rivals Naomh Colmcille – semi-finalists twice in the last three years and now under Francie Martin’s management – and Burt are also included in what looks like a tough group.
Junior Champions Milford were the first team draw and are in Group A alongside Inishowen sides Buncrana and Carndonagh as well as Naomh Columba. Group 3 has the look of a Group of Death about it, with Fanad Gaels, Naomh Brid, Aodh Ruadh and Downings all sides who have had designs on winning this Championship in recent seasons.
The top two teams in each group will advance, as will the two best third-placed teams, to make the quarter-finals.
Defending Under-21 champions Kilcar have been drawn against Glenswilly to open their defence of that title, while there are a couple of tasty ties, not least the pairing of Naomh Conaill – who have been in the last eight finals, winning six of them – and an up and coming Gaoth Dobhair team aiming to make serious inroads in this competition.
The clash of St Eunan’s and Naomh Muire will also draw plenty of interest, while in the Under-21 B competiton the Termon-Convoy tie looks one filled with promise at this early juncture.
The Junior A Championship is also run on a round robin basis.
Beaten finalists from 2013 Urris have been drawn alongside Red Hughs, Robert Emmets, Na Rossa and Naomh Ultan with Group 2 comprising Moville, Lifford, Convoy, Letterkenny Gaels and Moville. Here, the group winner will go through to a semi-final. The second placed team from one group will play the third placed team from the other in two quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Gaoth Dobhair were late entrants into the Junior B Championship, which has retained the knockout format, and the Magheragallon club’s new third team will be away to Red Hughs in the Championship, while the first tie drawn – St Eunan’s v Naomh Conaill – drew plenty of gasps from those in attendance.
Group 1: Milford, Buncrana, Carndonagh, Naomh Columba
Group 2: Cloughaneely, Burt, St Naul’s, Naomh Colmcille
Group 3: Fanad Gaels, Naomh Brid, Aodh Ruadh, Downings
Junior A Championship
Group 1: Urris, Robert Emmets, Na Rossa, Naomh Ultan, Red Hughs
Group 2: Moville, Lifford, Convoy, Letterkenny Gaels, Muff
Junior B Championship
St Eunan’s v Naomh Conaill, Red Hughs v Gaoth Dobhair, Convoy v Sean MacCumhaills, Robert Emmets v Glenswilly, Ardara v Glenfin, Moville v Lifford, Naomh Ultan v Muff, Letterkenny Gaels v Pettigo
Under-21 A Championship
St Eunan’s v Naomh Muire, Dungloe v Sean MacCumhaills, Aodh Ruadh v Letterkenny Gaels, St Michael’s v Four Masters, Naomh Conaill v Gaoth Dobhair, Kilcar v Glenswilly, Buncrana v Ardara, Malin v Cloughaneely
Under-21 B Championship
Preliminary Round: Red Hughs v Lifford, Robert Emmets v Urris, Bundoran v Moville
First Round: Red Hughs/Lifford v Fanad Gaels, Naomh Colmcille v Naomh Brid, Carndonagh v Robert Emmets/Urris, Termon v Convoy, Naomh Columba v Burt, St Naul’s v Milford, Glenfin v Downings, Killybegs v Bundoran/Moville