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Donegal to tighten noose on Kerry


(Ballybofey, Tomorrow 2.0)

THE old aristocracy and the nouveau riche are both struggling in the bottom half of Division One. So, at least, the table suggests. But is it really so grim?

Entire rainforests have been felled to facilitate all the recent paper talk about "Kerry in crisis", so we'll park that one for the minute. Donegal? They are fine; or rather, they should be once summer dawns and maybe even before that, for we suspect they'll push on during the second half of the league to consolidate their top-flight status.

Given their belated training return and with several more key men just back from injury, it has been no surprise to see the champions some distance off their relentless championship 2012 pace.

It's not a worrying augury – not yet at least – especially when you factor in how last year's underwhelming league gave way to the consistent excellence of summer.

By the same token, Kerry's second half in Newbridge was the first passably decent 35 minutes they've produced since the first half against Mayo, way back in early February.

What Kerry lacked was execution: the finesse that should come with the return of Colm Cooper, Declan O'Sullivan, Bryan Sheehan and Paul Galvin. It's obvious the Kingdom will face major long-term problems once their golden generation depart; meanwhile, some ongoing short-term absenteeism could hurt them once more in Ballybofey.

BOYLESPORTS ODDS: Donegal 4/6, Draw 15/2, Kerry 13/8

VERDICT: Donegal