Longer break means Donegal can ‘enjoy league’

Rory Gallagher says the larger gap this year compared to last before the Ulster SFC means his Donegal side can enjoy the Allianz League.

With Donegal having featured in three out of the last five preliminary rounds in the Ulster SFC, occasionally their focus might’ve drifted towards the end of their league campaign.

Last year, Gallagher’s team reached the league semi-final only to go down 4-11 to 0-19 against Cork at Croke Park just five weeks before Tyrone were due in Ballybofey in the curtain-raiser in the Ulster SFC.

This year, Donegal are the ninth of the nine Ulster counties scheduled to play, with their opponents on June 12 being whoever wins the preliminary round between Antrim and Fermanagh.

“It’s great that we’re out in the Championship four weeks later than last year,” Gallagher said at the launch of Donegal’s new kit in Donegal town yesterday. “It’s better for everyone, like the CCC in terms of fixtures, and it can be smoother for everyone.

“We have nine weeks from the end of the League to the start of the Championship and that’s a great time. We have a good bit of heavy work done so we’ll be able to enjoy the League without worrying about fitness for the Championship.” Gallagher, a native of Belleek, Co Fermanagh, is of the opinion that three wins would be enough to ensure survival in Division One this year.

Donegal open their Division 1 campaign with an away fixture against Down at Pairc Esler in Newry on Saturday night before welcoming Cork to Ballyshannon eight days’ later.

“The key date is June 12 and we want to be close to our best by then.”


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