BY CHRIS MCNULTY
BY THE time Jim McGuinness meets his players next Sunday, the Donegal manager hopes to have finalised his plans for the following week’s All-Ireland final meeting with Kerry.
The Donegal players were back to work last Tuesday following their semi-final win over Dublin; a result and performance that shocked a nation.
McGuinness has already said that their toppling of the reigning All-Ireland champions would be ‘worth nothing’ unless Sam Maguire is in Michael Murphy’s hands on September 21st.
By Sunday next, seven days out from the big day, McGuinness says he’ll know the lie of the land.
“That’s the day I like to have things done and dusted so that for the last week it’s just summarising things,” he said.
“Hopefully we can go into Croke Park now and deliver a really good performance. We had a good performance the last day, but there were a lot of things we weren’t happy about, things that we’ll have to improve on.
“There were a lot of things that we didn’t deliver on. We will need seventy minutes to beat Kerry in the All-Ireland final. We know what’s ahead of us.
“We believe that we can win any game if our preparation is right.
“Our objective is to get to a level in training where we can put ourselves into a position where we can be competitive.”
Donegal will go into a training camp towards the end of this week, but will be changing venue from their usual Johnstown House, which is unavailable.
Rory Kavanagh and Paddy McGrath were expected to be back in training yesterday having had minor strains, while the captain, Murphy, should be integrated back on Tuesday night.
The Glenswilly man suffered what McGuinness explained as ‘a fairly heavy dead leg’ in the joust with Dublin.
McGuinness, without any worry about the totemic skipper, said: “There’s nothing that can be done for that, only getting the flexion further and further. He’ll probably be back on Tuesday.”
With both Donegal and Kerry set to wear their first-choice colours, Croke Park will be a sea of green and gold, although McGuinness is unconvinced about the lack of a clash between the shirts.
The Glenties man said: “I saw the full thing and it didn’t look too bad but I’m not 100 per cent sure about it to be honest. Both counties want to wear their first choice kits.
“We like to wear the white kits. It’s not high up on the agenda. It won’t be a jersey that beats us.”
McGuinness has led Donegal to their second All-Ireland final in three years and, having won three of the last four Ulster titles, has returned a winning mentality to the county.
Kerry await, flashing their 36 previous All-Ireland wins and a whopping seventy-six Munster titles.
“Kerry are programme to win All-Irelands,” McGuinness said.
“People have asked me if I’m surprised to see Kerry in the All-Ireland final, but you’re never surprised to see Kerry in the All-Ireland final. You expect them at the business end every year. It’s a very strong mindset to have, where you believe that you should be there.”
DECLAN BONNER will look to collect the first piece of silverware from his second tenure in charge of Donegal.