Donegal game coming into focus

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Photo: MichaelMaye.com

Right, then – it’s less than a week now to our next League match, a tough one up at MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey against table-topping Donegal. The match throws in on Sunday at 2pm and it’s also being broadcast live on TG4.

Donegal have started this League campaign in the best possible fashion. They trounced Down in the first round and then gave Cork – handy winners over us in the opening round – a sound enough thumping in round two. It’s no surprise, then, that they lead the table by virtue of their impressive points difference tally, which currently stands at +27.

They’re clearly not resting our their laurels either. Rory Gallagher took his charges to Tenerife last week for a five-day training camp so we can expect them to be well drilled and focused on the battle the next day.

Our lads haven’t, though, been idle themselves. The three-week break between rounds 2 and 3 will enable some of the injured lads – notably experienced players like Lee Keegan, Keith Higgins and Kevin McLoughlin – to get back to full fitness.

We’ll need as strong an outfit as we can muster for Sunday. Donegal will obviously feel they owe us one after last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final and meetings between the two counties have been anything but tame in recent years. Sunday’s clash is unlikely to buck that particular trend.

There’s no word yet, of course, on line-ups for Sunday. It’ll be at least Thursday (or later) before that kind of detail emerges.

One bit of info we do have is that the match will be reffed by Derry’s Barry Cassidy. The last time we had the pleasure of his company was, from what I can see, a long time ago – back in March 2012 against Down.

The bookies have installed Donegal as strong favourites to win on Sunday – they’re on offer with Paddy Power at 4/7. Never mind about where the money is going, though – what are you feeling in your waters about this one? I know you’ve probably had your fill and more right now on the topic of polls but what about Sunday’s encounter: how will we do in it?

How will we do against Donegal?

  • Win (52%, 210 Votes)
  • Lose (41%, 166 Votes)
  • Draw (8%, 31 Votes)

Total Voters: 407

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18 thoughts on “Donegal game coming into focus

  1. Paddy Power at 7/4 is not a bad bet. Mayo have to do something soon.
    Cant wait. Hate this slow start to the year. Forced to go to Rugby game yesterday to get my ‘football fix’.

  2. A badly needed 2 points is gonna be very difficult up in Ballybofey! I still voted for us to win though. Practising my voting there, for the week that’s in it like….

  3. The problem so far hasn’t really been defending.
    It’s been at the other end and ‘where are the scores going to come from?’

    Unfortunately without Cillian the attack is left very much on the back foot. Maybe another defensive display will be put on. If so it could be a pretty low scoring affair.

  4. Our defence will be ok and should have a few more forwards to pick from for this one ,, think parsons is flying at mid field but think he is lacking a strong partner at the moment ,, could cost us yet ,,, hope I’m wrong

  5. It is our defence which I will be watching most closely. Donegal score goals in almost every match and it’s what breaks the opposition. If nothing else is done in the league a rock solid defence which does not yield easy goals is what I would take with confidence into the championship . Dublin used the League to do it last year and were nearly impossible to break down. Cillian’s goal in the replay was an acrobatic masterpiece. We didn’t get any other chances that I can remember. The great Kerry goal poachers went away empty in the final. We need to do what Dublin did.

    Now is the time to sort out sweepers, not in August like last year. If you have a mean mayo defence then you don’t have to score as much at the other end.

    Without Cillian we appear fairly toothless so far in the forwards. That will all change in the Summer when we have all our players available. I suppose the big question is where to play AOS most effectively. I hope to see him around the opposition goal as it is the classic way to beat a packed defence like Donegal’s. It will be really interesting to see how Rochford plays it. Its a big test for the coach. Tactical awareness is half the battle against Northern teams.

  6. K Higgins didn’t play the hurling! Is that intent?Who else will be back? Donegal are buzzing with feel good! Mayo know what two points would mean to the rest of their Spring! They know how things went against a good Dublin team.They certainly won’t be going north just to play a game of football!

    So,I’ve given them the Yes vote this time!
    C’Mon Mayo!

  7. Donegal further down the line in terms of preparation. League and Ulster could be their targets for this year with any further progression a bonus.
    We are still missing our big guns and this game will be a step too far for us just yet. Rochford asked for patience I hope he gets it. Another improvement in performance but we’ll have to wait a bit longer for our first points of the year.

  8. And Peter,if you were level all day would you not go for another score and try to get yourself the two points?!

  9. It goes without saying the Donegal game will be difficult. We will however have a reasonably strong team available. So a battle awaits! We need the points more than them and that might be the difference on Sunday.

  10. I’ll be very happy with a display similar to the Dublin game, with the proviso that some sharpness is added in attack.

    I want more of the Conor O’Shea approach with point kicking from distance. Cathal Carolan could be interesting here; I think his two substitute appearances have shown he will make an impact this year, and the way he hit that ball that struck the post was impressive.

  11. The Mayo starting 15 that beat Donegal in the All Ireland Quarter final last August by 8 points.

    David Clarke;
    Tom Cunniffe, Ger Cafferkey, Keith Higgins
    Lee Keegan, Colm Boyle; Donal Vaughan
    Seamus O’Shea, Tom Parsons;
    Diarmuid O’Connor, Aidan O’Shea, Kevin McLoughlin;
    Barry Moran, Cillian O’Connor, Jason Doherty

    10 of that team could start this Sunday. The five that won’t start Clarke,Cunniffe,S O Shea,Barry Moran,Cillian O Connor. Likely replacements Robbie Hennelly,Brendan Harrison,Jason Gibbons,Conor O Shea,Evan Regan

    While the replacements aren’t as good as some of five players missing i still think Mayo should have strong enough team to get a result against Donegal again.

  12. Cathal Carolan did briefly appear to be getting through the ball with smooth power than the snatchy strike he used to have. He appears to be keeping his head up too. Both changes would bring him on massive. He has the pace and power.

  13. While I expect us to improve from our last 2 games, I think it won’t be enough. Donegal are flying at the moment and I think we’ll struggle to keep up with them. They also have home advantage. Expect a defeat by 4 or 5.

  14. It’s mayo so anything could happen..My first time going to donegal for a game and not going with negative nelly attitude like I did for dublin match ..so a draw it is!!

  15. Went with my heart for a win . My head though is pointing towards a loss. Looking forward to the trip .

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