Donegal and Longford line out for the first round of the Nickey Rackard 2020 Championship this Saturday in O’Donnell Park. Letterkenny. The game will be streamed live on Donegal GAA TV and a downloadable programme will be available from Saturday morning.
The last time Donegal played in this competition, they emerged champions – two years ago in 2018 when they overcame Warwickshire in the Croke Park final. Nine of the team that started that day are in the first fifteen again Saturday as are two of the substitutes. Donegal also won the Nickey Rackard in 2013, defeating Roscommon in the final. Longford have never won the Nickey Rackard but do have the distinction of comfortably seeing off Donegal in the 2010 Lory Meagher Cup final. Donegal bounced back the following year to beat Tyrone in the final. Longford won Lory Meagher again in 2014.
With Covid restrictions there are no overseas teams in the competition this year – Warwickshire were due to feature but are excluded under existing regulations. The other contenders are Monaghan, Mayo, Armagh, Tyrone and Leitrim. Monaghan take on Mayo on Saturday afternoon in Clontibret at 14.00, while the Armagh-Leitrim clash throws in at 16.00 at the Athletic Grounds. Who Donegal and Longford face in subsequent weeks depends on who wins Saturday’s match-up with fixtures being determined by the winners and losers of the different games. Full details of all the fixtures can be found on the GAA website at:
Games will be decided on the day with extra time played if matches end all square at the end of regulation time. If teams remain level after extra time then the game goes to penalties with each team registering five penalty takers. Only these five can take penalties and players may be required to take more than one. The only possibility of a replacement is if the goal-keeper is among the takers and he gets injured at some stage.