This pair met in the National League two weeks ago and Donegal gave Tyrone a right beating. Since then, Tyrone have gone to Mayo and won. Meanwhile, Donegal sent a scratch team to Kerry and got a hammering, but they were really preparing for this game in truth.
This is one of the biggest Gaelic Football matches that will take place this season, never mind in the Ulster Football Championship. Both of these teams could well be in the last four of the All-Ireland if the regular back-door system was in place, but someone’s season is ending very early on Sunday.
Even though there will be no crowds at the games, it is an advantage to Donegal that this match is fixed for Ballybofey. Tyrone have a new ‘x-factor’ available to them though, in the form of former Australian Rules player Conor McKenna, who returned home this year from Essendon. McKenna, was not just run-of-the-mill in Aussie Rules, he was a huge star Down Under. The Australian media just couldn’t get enough of him during his time in the country.
McKenna has scored 3-04 for Tyrone in the two games since he’s been back and he’s just a brilliant operator. However, I feel like Mickey Harte has shown his hand with him already to Donegal. Declan Bonner will surely put someone on McKenna to tightly mark him and I expect that to be enough for his Donegal side to win this battle.
Longford grabbed the headlines last weekend by giving a walkover to Cork in the National League. Cork were not one bit happy about it and as results turn out, Longford cost themselves a shot at promotion because of that decision – even if it was only a slim chance of going up.
Louth saw off an understrength Down outfit convincingly to end their stay in Division 3 with victory, but that was their only victory in the League this season and they have been relegated to Division 4 as a result. With Longford enjoying an extra week’s rest, I fancy them to do the business and beat the handicap at Cusack Park.
John Maughan’s Offaly welcome Leinster rivals Carlow to Tullamore on Sunday and it should be a tense clash at O’Connor Park. Despite a narrow two-point defeat to Derry last weekend, Offaly managed to survive the drop into Division 4 and it will be important for Maughan’s side to pick up a win here to continue the improvement they’ve been shown.
Carlow didn’t play last weekend, but they lost their talismanic manager Turlough O’Brien in June and I reckon they haven’t had enough time to settle under new boss Niall Carew. Take the handicap available on The Faithful County in this one.
Wicklow have the short hop to Chadwicks Wexford Park this Sunday, and I’m going to go with the visitors to win here at a tidy price. These two already played each other last weekend in the National League, Wicklow won that and gained promotion to Division 3 as a result. I believe they’ll have their tails up after that achievement and should make it two wins in as many weeks over The Yellowbellies.
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