Donegal manager Jim McGuinness wants to finish off what he described as a very ‘positive’ league with victory over Monaghan on Sunday.
Donegal face Monaghan, in Sunday’s Allianz League Division 1 final, in Croke Park, throw-in 2pm. The game is part of an attractive double bill and is the curtain raiser to the Division One final meeting of All-Ireland champions Dublin and Derry.
This game is of specific interest to Jim McGuinness and Donegal supporters as Derry are Donegal’s first round Ulster championship opponents four weeks later in Celtic Park, Derry.
“It is like every other game we play, we want to win it. That is always our objective and Sunday is no different,” said McGuinness.
“The only difference to this game from any other game in the league is that it is a final and it is in Croke Park. It is a game we definitely want to win. There is a title and silverware at stake and we aren’t laden down with national titles in Donegal.
“Besides it would also be a nice way to round off what has been a very positive league for us.
“The league has been a very good one for us and really we have achieved all our objectives. At the start of the year the target was to go out and win as many games as possible and pick up enough points and be in the mix for promotion at the end of the campaign.
“That has been achieved. It was also our goal to bring in a few of the younger lads and try them out and also to get a number of the senior players that had been hampered by injury all of last year back fit again and reintegrate them in the team.
“And we have achieved that too and to such an extent, with the exception of David Walsh, we have a fully fit squad. The headache this year, unlike last season at this time when we were losing players to injury at an awful rate, is not naming the starting 15 but the selection of the match day 26.
“It’s a good problem to have and we are in a really good place with the final on Sunday and the championship only four and a half weeks away.”
The fact that Monaghan are Donegal’s opponents and the game is a repeat of last July’s Ulster final is not lost on the Donegal boss.
“It’s an Ulster derby. They are the reigning Ulster champions. We know what to expect from them. It is a matter of being ready for them and producing a performance and being competitive.
“If we achieve all that I feel we will be in with a great chance and hopefully we will be coming down the road on Sunday evening as Division Two champions, and then we can turn our thoughts to Derry and the championship.”
McGuinness guided Donegal to their one and only Division Two league title in 2011. They defeated Laois in that final.
And that was the start of the great journey that ended with two Ulster crowns (2011 and 2012) and the 2012 All-Ireland success.