Championship 2024 Blog

Can Donegal pass another tough examination?

Mike Finnerty | 22 May 2024

It took extra-time to separate them last month in the USFC.

Roscommon return to action

The task of trying to match up to the All-Ireland champions at Croke Park falls to Roscommon on Saturday evening.

Davy Burke’s team have been here before, holding Dublin to a draw in last year’s All-Ireland series and, in the process, becoming the only team that the Dubs failed to beat on their way to the title.

Could a similar game-plan be rolled out again this time?

It’s five weeks since Mayo knocked the Rossies out of the Connacht championship and they’ve been kicking their heels since, waiting for a chance to get back on track.

Now they must decide what is the best approach to take as they chase a first win over the Metropolitans at Croke Park for 40 years.

Dublin looking to drive on

Winning a 14th successive Leinster title recently only served to underline that Dublin remain the team to beat in the All-Ireland race.

Louth tested their mettle in the provincial final, but the champions still found a way.

The lessons learned from last year’s draw against the Rossies are sure to have been mentioned in the Dublin camp this week, and it will be interesting to see how they go about their business. A high press and a fast start are likely to be on the cards.

Top scorers Con O’Callaghan (3-8) and Paul Mannion (1-10) are the match-winners if they get a steady supply of possession.

Tyrone aiming to bounce back

Little did anybody know that Tyrone and Donegal’s paths would cross again so soon.

Just four weeks after extra-time was needed to separate them in the Ulster championship semi-final, the teams meet again in Ballybofey on Saturday evening.

Ulster champions Donegal will arrive at Seán MacCumhaill Park in good health, and Jim McGuinness will have them primed to perform.

But Tyrone will feel they have what it takes to bounce back.

How much they learned from the Ulster semi-final defeat, and what tactics Brian Dooher and Fergal Logan decide to employ, will go a long way towards deciding the outcome.

Jimmy’s winning matches again

They have answered every question that’s been asked of them so far, and won the Anglo-Celt Cup after holding their nerve in the Ulster Final penalty shoot-out, but Donegal will be the first to admit that will count for nothing on Saturday evening.

Jim McGuinness has had two weeks to prepare his team for this Tyrone rematch and decide on what tweaks (if any) he will make to the playbook.

Donegal haven’t conceded a goal in their last four matches and, if that run has extended to five by next Saturday night, Tyrone will find it hard to spring an ambush.

It’s all to play for in Leinster

The Leinster Hurling Championship has been nothing if not compelling in recent weeks.

There is plenty of potential for another plot-twist on Sunday afternoon at UPMC Nowlan Park as round-robin table-toppers Kilkenny welcome second-placed Wexford back to town.

Remarkably, Wexford are looking for a third win in a row over the Cats in the competition as they have made a habit recently of saving their best hurling for their neighbours.

Last weekend Kilkenny had to pull out all the stops to beat the Dubs while Wexford strolled to victory over Carlow. That form line will go out the window here.

A place in the Leinster Final is up for grabs, with Dublin and Galway also in the mix.