MILFORD manager Danny O’Donnell says the next few months will make or break their Division One campaign after their morale-boosting win over Sean MacCumhaill’s on Saturday evening.
It was only their second victory of the campaign after eight rounds of action, but it should be noted that the fixtures fairy bestowed them with an extremely tough run of fixtures at the start of the campaign.
Milford were reduced to 14 men against MacCumhaill’s when Luke Barrett was dismissed, and there was nothing between the teams early in the second-half, but they powered home to clinch the win on a scoreline of 5-8 to 1-12, with Cathal McGettigan bagging a hat-trick.
O’Donnell said: “It was very much a four-pointer in terms of survival in Division One and we were delighted with our second-half performance in particular.
“We were down to 14 men and the game was level but we kicked on and scored four goals from play, so I was very happy with the attitude of the players and it was a reward for the work they’ve put in.
“They had a tough run of games at the start of the season against the bigger clubs away from home so we’re hoping that’ll kick-start us into a run of form.”
Milford are in their second season in Division One, finishing an impressive sixth last season. Their manager hopes that they start their ascent up the table in the coming weeks and months.
“We didn’t panic with the start, five of the first six games were away from home and we knew that was a challenge for us and we had one or two injuries.
“ We always figured that these games in May, June and July would decide our season. We’ve a double header home and away coming up against Glenswilly which will be massive matches, then we play Cloughaneely and MacCumhail’s again. It’ll give us an indication of where we’ll be heading into the final five or six league games.”
The 2017 Intermediate Champions didn’t fare so hot in the senior tournament last season, winning none of their group matches but still managing to stay up with a relegation play-off win. Their manager makes no bones about their desire to leave their imprint on this season’s championship.
“We were disappointed with our performance last season so we’re looking forward to it as well as trying to survive in Division One.
“It’s always in the back of your mind. Having won the Intermediate title two seasons ago, we thought last season with two home games we had a chance to make an impression but it didn’t happen for us.
“We feel we didn’t perform to our ability, so we have that long-term view this year that championship is what your judged on even though the league is very important to develop players.”
Finally, O’Donnell says he’s perfectly content with the way the fixtures are being played off, with the door being completely shut on the league before the championship starts up.
“I think Donegal have got their fixtures set out as good as any county. We know our fixtures right up to the championship and we know exactly when we’re playing.
“We’ve got 10 games to go and when the league ends on September 2 the championship begins and when you’re knocked out your season’s over. In the last couple of seasons they’ve got a grip of the fixtures and it’s been very positive.”