Donegal host Derry in Ulster Under-20s semi-final

Shaun Paul Barrett will be hoping that Donegal can beat Derry for the second time in a week as his Under-20 side take on the Oak Leaf County in the Ulster Under-20 Championship semi-final on Wednesday night in MacCumhaill Park (throw-in 7.30pm).

Donegal had two wins from two against Cavan and Fermanagh and needed to avoid defeat to Armagh in their final game to top the group and automatically qualify for the semi-finals and they done so with a 1-6 to 0-7 win.

“From the start we were looking at the group and thinking it would possibly come down to the last game with ourselves and Armagh to see who would top it,” Barrett told the Donegal News.


“Obviously the carat in topping the group is that you get a home semi-final and even since that Armagh are knocked out now with Monaghan beating them.”

The win for Monaghan over Armagh, along with Derry’s 1-11 to 0-7 win over Cavan proved the strength of the other group, with Tyrone topping it.

Donegal beat the Breffni men by five points in Cavan in their opening game, so it would be expected that this matchup on Wednesday night will be very close between the two sides.

“It’ll be a big step up again from the last match but if you’re going to be competitive and have any success in this then you have to play the best teams,” the Under-20s manager added.

“We’ve seen some of their videos and I saw them in a challenge match earlier in the year.

“Then a few of the lads went to see them against Cavan and they’re a very good side, they’re well organised in defence and have a very good forward line so it’s going to be a big battle but we’re looking forward to it.

“It’s what championship is all about and it’s what we’re preparing for the last four or five months so it’s all or nothing now.


“There’s a big effort put in for a few games. This year there was no league and it’s the first time that the Leo Murphy Cup wasn’t played and playing in that there is better than challenge matches.

“The other side of that then is that we’ve had three championship games in the group and now we have a fourth so you have to win four games to make the final.

“With the split season and everything it’s hard for all these fixtures to get played and college football too, it’s just trying to manage everything.”

After the win over Armagh Saturday week ago, an altercation at the end of the game saw two Armagh players and Donegal’s Daithi Gildea handed suspensions.

Donegal have appealed the proposed suspension for the Glenswilly forward, while they focus on clearing up other injuries.

“We have a few niggles and the big one will be Niall Prendiville who picked up a hamstring injury against Cavan in the first game.

“So he has been out for six weeks and hopefully he’ll be back in contention, it might just be too soon for him but we’ll know now for the next number of days.

“It doesn’t matter where we play anybody, it would be an advantage if we were playing on Wednesday night in Convoy where we’re training but we’ve been in MacCumhaill Park twice this year, once in a game and once in a challenge match and we’ve not been back in it since with the weather.

“But we are looking forward to it, it’s nice to have the home venue for anybody in Donegal that’s looking to go, they don’t have to travel too far.”

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