BY CHRIS MCNULTY IN DERRYBEG
GLENSWILLY could hardly have been handed a tougher start to the defence of their Donegal SFC crown – this afternoon, the Pairc Naomh Columba side were paired with Gaoth Dobhair in the first round of the 2012 Donegal senior championship.
In the draw, conducted at the RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta studios in Derrybeg, the clash of Gaoth Dobhair and Glenswilly is most certainly the stand-out tie. Glenswilly will begin the title defence in Magheragallon in what is a repeat of a quarter-final in 2010, won by Glenswilly in Letterkenny.
Yet again, Glenswilly have been handed one of the plum ties in the first round. They have had a tough recent history in the opening round of the championship having met three derby rivals Naomh Conaill, Glenfin and St Eunan’s in recent years at the first hurdle.
Now they’re involved in what is the big game of the first round. Both sides are under new management this year. Manus McFadden has taken over the champions while Gaoth Dobhair – whose last Championship triumph was in 2006 – are expected to ratify a four-man team of Declan Kelly, Tom Beag Gillespie, Alan Boyd and Martin Boyle at their reconvened AGM tonight.
Dungloe and Cloughaneely have been drawn together in a North-West Donegal derby with the 2011 Intermediate Champions St Naul’s handed a real baptism of fire on their return to the senior ranks with a clash with the 2010 senior kings Naomh Conaill. Last year’s finalists, St Michael’s, have been handed a repeat of last year’s first round game with MacCumhaills while Kilcar and Malin battle it out in a preliminary round game with St Eunan’s awaiting the victors.
In the Intermediate Championship, Naomh Columba, beaten in last year’s final, will renew rivalry with Naomh Colmcille in a repeat of their semi-final from 2011, and Termon’s drop to the Intermediate ranks sees them awaiting the winners of a preliminary round game between Urris and Naomh Mhuire. Burt are back up in Intermediate after winning last year’s Junior title – and they face a ferocious all-Inishowen clash against Buncrana.
Beaten Junior finalists in 2011, Naomh Padraig of Lifford, will take on Milford in the preliminary round – the winners will take on Muff – while in the U21 A Championship, holders Kilcar have been handed a mouth-watering derby test against Killybegs in the first round.
2012 RTE RAIDIO NA GAELTACHTA SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Kilcar v Malin
Naomh Conaill v St Naul’s
St Eunan’s v Kilcar/Malin
St Michael’s v Sean MacCumhaill’s
Bundoran v Glenfin
Ardara v Four Masters
Dungloe v Cloughaneely
Fanad Gaels v Killybegs
Gaoth Dobhair v Glenswilly
Urris v Naomh Mhuire
Buncrana v Burt
Termon v Urris/Naomh Mhuire
Carndonagh v Buncrana/Burt
Naomh Columba v Naomh Colmcille
Naomh Brid v Aodh Ruadh
JUNIOR A CHAMPIONSHIP
Naomh Ultan v Red Hughs
Letterkenny Gaels v Robert Emmet’s
Milford v Naomh Padraig, Lifford
Naomh Padraig, Muff v Milford/Naomh Padraig, Lifford
Na Rossa v Convoy
Naomh Ultan/Red Hughs v Downings
Letterkenny Gaels/Robert Emmet’s v Moville
JUNIOR B CHAMPIONSHIP
Milford v Moville
Naomh Padraig, Muff v Robert Emmet’s
Glenfin v Glenswilly
Glenfin/Glenswilly v Na Rossa
Naomh Padraig, Muff/Robert Emmet’s v Downings
St Eunan’s v Milford/Moville
Convoy v Sean MacCumhaills
Ardara v Letterkenny Gaels
St Michael’s v Naomh Padraig, Lifford
Naomh Columba v Pettigo
Naomh Ultan v Naomh Conaill
U21 A CHAMPIONSHIP
Bundoran v Naomh Conaill
St Eunan’s v Gaoth Dobhair
St Naul’s v Dungloe
Fanad Gaels v St Michael’s
Malin v Cloughaneely
Milford v St Naul’s/Dungloe
Ardara v Bundoran/Naomh Conaill
Fanad Gaels/St Michael’s v Glenfin
St Eunan’s/Gaoth Dobhair v MacCumhaills
Killybegs v Kilcar
Four Masters v Naomh Mhuire
Letterkenny Gaels v Glenswilly
U21 B CHAMPIONSHIP
Naomh Brid v Burt
Naomh Colmcille v Aodh Ruadh
Robert Emmets v Naomh Padraig, Lifford
Moville v Buncrana
Termon v Carndonagh
Downings v Naomh Columba
Byes: Convoy and Red Hughs
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