Joe Kernan: Casement showdown sure to be a fitting tribute to Michaela
With the Derry and Down football championship finals arranged for this weekend, it means that — barring draws — the destination of all Ulster county titles, apart from Donegal’s of course, will have been decided.
And this being the case I, along with Mickey Harte and Tony Scullion, will then get down to the important job of selecting players for the Ulster side that will meet Jim McGuinness’s All-Ireland champions in the ‘Match for Michaela’ at Casement Park on November 3.
The game is already generating considerable interest, not least among family groups many of whom will be travelling to the west Belfast venue to show their support for the Michaela Foundation.
I am particularly keen that Ulster should have a strong side on duty and to this end I will be sounding out all the leading players in relation to their availability.
I have been made aware that a number of players are ready to answer the call and I am very pleased about that as I am keen to see this match prove a worthy tribute to the late Michaela, Mickey’s daughter.
Obviously it would be great to see players like Darren Hughes, Jamie Clarke, Benny Coulter, Sean Cavanagh, James Loughrey, Barry Owens, Eugene Keating and Mark Lynch in action but we have to be aware that a number of teams are still involved in the Ulster Club Championship and might not want to see their players risk injury.
The Donegal Championship final is scheduled for November 4 but so far the protagonists are not known.
The Donegal champions will meet Armagh winners Crossmaglen Rangers in the Ulster Club Championship on November 11, so a very tight fixtures schedule is in the offing.
Obviously when the Donegal semi-finals have been played this will give manager McGuinness a better idea of who will be available for the trip to Belfast and who might be out of the equation.
But I have no doubt that Donegal will travel with considerable strength.
Knowing McGuinness as I do, he will not want to lose this match.
But then it is a well known fact that neither Mickey Harte nor myself take too kindly to finishing on the wrong end of a scoreline either!