Dublin and Donegal look horns in what will be a sold out Croke Park come 6 o clock on Saturday evening, we will have live updates and team news.
This game will be played in a defensive aspect especially from Donegal with their blanket defence tactics. However, in saying that Rory Gallagher may have something else planned to stop the Dubs.
Judging by form Dublin are in a better position than Donegal, but let’s be honest the teams in which they have played didn’t test them. They played Laois, Meath and Westmeath and easily hammered all three of them so you can’t really judge Dublin by that. However, I do feel Donegal will be a much tougher challenge and I can’t see Dublin hammering them due to the way I expect them to set up on Saturday evening.
Donegal had a much tougher game than Dublin and have come through the back door so they have momentum. They defeated Cork last weekend in a good second half performance and some of their players are finding form most notably Paddy McBrearty who kicked 0-07 from play in last weekend’s qualifier against Cork. Another shining light in that game was Ryan McHugh who kicked 0-03 from wing back in a fine individual display. The defence of Donegal were quite solid for the game, with the only blip being Paul Kerrigan’s goal. However, Dublin will expose any weakness they see in the Donegal defence, this weakness may be in the full back line with the McGee brothers but this remains to be seen.
In relation to Dublin, as previously mentioned they haven’t actually been tested in the championship thus far so it’s hard to know where they actually stand in a way. One thing is for sure, their attackers will be busy trying to break down the dreaded blanket defence. They will need to find space for Brogan and Kilkenny to run into. I feel that deploying McMenamon at centre forward will help curtail Karl Lacey going forward on the counter attack. McMenamon is a really hard worker and is good from open play also. Diarmuid Connolly will also be a massive threat and the Donegal defenders will need to curtail his influence on the game.
I do feel that Dublin’s defence may be exposed this weekend though and their loss of Jack McCaffrey and Rory O’Carroll will show. The power of Murphy and the form of McBrearty is something I would be wary of if I was Jim Gavin.
So who is going to win? I think Dublin will come out on top by 3-4 points but not much more than that. I think the game will be a low scoring encounter, similarly to that of the 2011 game between the sides in which Dublin won by 0-08 to 0-06. Dublin to win by five or six points.