Losing players to other clubs is part and parcel of the Inishowen football scene, but Culdaff FC took a bigger hit than most when three key players left Caratra Park over the summer.

Playmaker Benny Fildara moved up to intermediate side Cockhill Celtic, while holding midfielder Dillon Ruddy and goalkeeper Daniel Mullarkey were snapped up by champions Glengad.

They will likely have a mountain to climb to keep their heads above water in the premier division this season, but captain Michael Coyle believes every cloud has a silver lining.

The big striker told us: "When you take so many players out of a team at the one time then obviously it's going to be tough, but there are a lot of young players coming up through the club at the minute.

"We got a really rough draw in the league cup, and it wasn't ideal being up against Glengad and Greencastle when you've so many young boys coming in not used to playing senior football.

"The Glengad result (7-0) was bad on the Friday, but the boys looked good enough against Greencastle. They lost 3-0, but they really stepped up and I think they will improve as the season goes on."

Culdaff host Clonmany Shamrocks in the opening premier division game of the season this Sunday, and the 30-year-old is hoping to get things off to a good start.

He said: "Obviously at this time of year we are waiting on a good few of the Gaelic boys back, but that's something we have to cope with every year and once the championship's over we'll have everyone.

"Clonmany got beaten 3-0 by Buncrana Hearts in the league cup but I haven't seen them play so we'll know more when we play them.

"But the way the young boys played in the Greencastle game will be a real confidence booster for them.

"This season isn't going to be an easy one, but we have a great youth set-up here at the club.

"Now those players are being given their chance."

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.