The Michael Murphy Senior Football Championship swings into action this weekend, with eight games down for decision.
Kilcar are the reigning county champions, but they will go into this year’s championship without the talismanic Patrick McBrearty who is out for the season.
Ryan McHugh is also expected to miss their Group D opener with Killybegs with a nose injury, and that will rob Kilcar of two of the best players in the country.
Kilcar are the bookies favourites to win the championship, but team manager Barry Doherty doesn’t buy into the idea that other clubs will be trying to shoot them down.
“Our preparations will be no different this year to what they were last year to be honest.”
“Our lads have prepared well and they are focused and driven.
“I don’t think any other team goes into the championship thinking they are going to take down another club.
“Everyone just concentrates on their own games and trying to win those.
“Maybe teams will lift it an extra couple of per cent if they play us, and we will just have to match that, and try and improve with every game.”
Milford take on Sean MacCumhaills on Saturday in the other game in Group D.
The match of the weekend is undoubtedly in O’Donnell Park on Sunday evening when St Eunan’s host Gaoth Dobhair.
Both clubs are contenders to win the Dr Maguire Cup, but they find themselves in the group of death along with Naomh Conaill and Dungloe, who meet in Glenties on Saturday.
2016 champions Glenswilly will be expected to advance to the knock-out stages this year, after failing to make it past the group stages last term.
However, they have a tricky Group A opener against Ardara in Pearse Memorial Park, while Bundoran host Burt on the same day.
St Michael’s reached the semi-finals of the championship last year, and they are one of the form teams heading into this season’s competition.
First up for Michael Kelly’s side is a local derby against Termon at the Burn Road on Saturday evening.
The remaining match sees Four Masters square off with Malin in Donegal Town.
There are also six games taking place in the Intermediate Football Championship, while the Junior ‘A’ competition continues with three more fixtures.
DON’T MISS TODAY’S DONEGAL NEWS FOR PREVIEWS OF ALL THE GAMES