Sunday's meeting between Kildare and Donegal will the 15th time the counties have met in the League and it is Kildare who hold the upper hand, winning eight games, with Donegal coming out on top on four occasions with two games ending all square.
Meanwhile the first 'competitive' game between Donegal and Kildare was played in 1966 for the Gaelic Weekly Cup; a tournament at the time for beaten provincial finalists that seemed to have had official recognition that year. Kildare had lost to Meath 1-9 to 1-8 in the Leinster final; while a really fancied Donegal team were beaten by Down, 1-7 to 0-8, in the Ulster decider.
Played at St Conleth's Park, Newbridge, on October 23, 1966. Donegal were hot favourites to win but, short some regulars, were beaten by The Lilies 3-7 to 0-12.
The Kildare team that day lined out as follows: A. Kane; Shay Cash, Liam Molloy, Joe McTeague; Jimmy Cummins, Mick Carolan, Joe Doyle; Pat Mangan and Jack Donnelly; Brian Judge, Pat Nally, Liam Gleeson; Tom Keogh, Leo Long, Kevin Kelly. Subs: P. Buckley, T. Walsh, M.O‘Connor.
Meanwhile Kildare’s first, and only, League game in Ballyshannon, was played on February 25, 1996.
Managed by the late Dermot Earley; Glenn Ryan captained the side from centre half back; while PJ McGowan managed Donegal.
Kildare trailed by a single point at half time, 1-2 to 0-4, despite being under pressure for long periods.
The Lilies were on top on the resumption building up a lead of 0-11 to 1-4.
But Donegal, led by home ground boys Brian Murray and Brian Roper, along with Barry McGowan and Tony Boyle, fought back and equalised with a Tony Boyle free deep into injury time, to get that vital point that qualified them for the quarter-finals of the League.
The teams lined out that day as follows:
Donegal: Gary Walsh; John Cunningham, Matt Gallagher, Mark Crossan; Damien Diver, Noel Hegarty, Martin Shovlin; Brian Murray, James Ruane (0-1); Éamonn McMenamin, John Bán Gallagher, Paddy Hegarty; John Duffy, Tony Boyle (1-5), Brian Roper (0-1). Subs: Barry McGowan (0-1) for McMenamin; Manus Boyle for Duffy; John Gildea for Gallagher.
Kildare: Christy Byrne; Seán O’ Rourke, Davy Dalton, Séamus Dowling; Fergus Aspell (0-1), Glenn Ryan (0-2), Ken Doyle; Niall Buckley (0-4), Martin Murray; Paul McCormack, Johnny McDonald (0-3), Tom Brennan; Eddie McCormack, David Fennin, Noel Donlon (0-1). Subs: Martin Lynch for Fennin; John Whelan for Brennan.
Referee: Tommy McDermott (Cavan).
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