PREVIEW BY CHRIS MCNULTY
ON Sunday, Donegal enter the cauldron of an All-Ireland quarter-final against Kerry. Very few Donegal teams would ever have fancied their lot against the prowess of the Kingdom in Croke Park.
But this Donegal team is different to any other. Jim McGuiness and his players will head up the Jones Road to Dublin’s great theatre, shooting the breeze in full confidence that they can book a place in the semi-finals. There is no other way to take on Kerry.
All eyes are on the various match-ups: Lacey on Cooper; McGee on Donaghy; McGlynn on Galvin. What a cracking fare is on offer on Sunday afternoon.
Much has been made of how Donegal will handle that ferocious Kerry forward division, but there’ll have been plenty of head scratching around Killarney this week too.
Not only have Kerry to shackle Murphy, McFadden and McBrearty, but what of the roaming gallops of Frank McGlynn, Karl Lacey and Anthony Thompson? Or what of the omnipresent Mark McHugh, who could well emerge as the key man for Donegal this weekend.
Few teams have a chance against Kerry – but on Sunday Donegal can be more than a match. “It is a great opportunity first and foremost for us,” says Jim McGuinness.
The Donegal manager is relishing the task that faces his side. “We need a big, big performance. It’s an All-Ireland quarter-final against Kerry in Croke Park – what’s not to look forward to?
“Kerry will be very formidable opponents, but we need to have faith in ourselves. We have to believe that we can do it.
“We will go up the road very positive and we will focus on our own performance and getting that right. We’ll respect Kerry, of course, but that performance of our own is what is important for us. That needs to be right. The key thing is getting it right.”