Donegal still setting standards
DONEGAL V MONAGHAN
(Clones, Tomorrow, 2.0, Live RTÉ 2)
IT'S becoming quite the feud, this Donegal/Monaghan rivalry, of late.
Comparable, perhaps, to the Tyrone/Armagh clashes of the last decade.
Monaghan had the edge in the 2013 Ulster final and last year's League Division decider but mostly, Donegal have had the codes to break their locks in the biggest clashes.
Four Ulster titles in five years would be an achievement for the ages, should Donegal win here.
Given the ferocity of competition in the province (albeit slightly waning in most recent instalments) and the fact that they have thrice been drawn in the provincial preliminary round, it makes the feat all the more remarkable.
Indeed, you couldn't but conclude that Monaghan's flourishing of late would certainly have been confirmed in more silverware were it not for the presence of Donegal.
These games tend to be tactical to the point of chess but Donegal just look that bit more certain of themselves.
They ravaged Armagh, though Tyrone showed occasional glimpses of how to round their highly-populated, ultra organised defence and the Derry display certainly didn't represent their best work.
Expect Monaghan to man-mark Michael Murphy (above), a la Aidan O'Mahony and Justin McNulty but even if the Donegal captain's contributions from play are limited to deep-sitting, play-making role, he is good enough at that and those long range frees to still have a winning input.
And with Paddy McBrearty back in some semblance of his true from and both Ódhran MacNiallais and Darroch O'Connor contributing regularly on the scoreboard, Donegal are developing another attacking dimension.
Monaghan will need the perfect display of long-range scoring to win but its unlikely.
ODDS: Monaghan 9/4, Draw 15/2, Donegal 4/9
ULSTER SFC FINAL