Are these cups bound for The Diamond?

Are these cups bound for The Diamond?
Where will the Anglo Celt rest on Sunday evening? Will it make the short journey to Monaghan Town or back to The Diamond in Donegal?

Where will the Anglo Celt rest on Sunday evening? Will it make the short journey to Monaghan Town or back to The Diamond in Donegal?

That is the big question being asked this week and there is an uneasiness both in Donegal and Monaghan ahead of the decider in Clones.

Donegal and Monaghan have been giving the top billing on RTE, getting the 4pm slot ahead of the Dubs against Meath.

That, in itself, just shows the standing which the Ulster final holds.

Already this year we have watched Kerry demolish a very poor Cork side, while Mayo didn’t really break sweat against Galway on Sunday last in Connacht.

Kerry won on away soil while Mayo had home advantage for their win over Galway.

The Dubs will have home advantage against Meath and Monaghan are in a similar position against Donegal.

Wins for Dublin and Donegal would provide some sort of equilibrium!

But then equilibrium is hardly something that you can lay alongside any game of football.

Monaghan have something of an Indian sign over Donegal. You have to go back to 1983 and a semi-final meeting in Irvinestown to get the last Donegal victory.

In the meantime Donegal have suffered defeat to Monaghan in 1985 (in Castleblaney), 1995 (in Ballybofey); 2007 (Omagh); 2008 (Ballybofey) and last year in the Ulster final in Clones.

It doesn’t make for good reading from a Donegal point of view. But then prior to Jim McGuinness taking over, nothing about Donegal made good reading.

Donegal have improved from last year while Monaghan have maintained a pretty high level of intensity. They have power with the Hughes brothers; grit in Colin Walshe; a real find in Fintan Kelly; a free-taking ‘keeper in Rory Beggan who is their second top scorer but they still rely heavily on captain Conor McManus.

McManus has hit 1-15 so far in three games, but only 1-4 of that has been from play.

Donegal will making plans for McManus just as Monaghan will making plans for Michael Murphy.

Space will be at a minimum in Clones on Sunday next. The odds on the game are even money.

If you were a serious punter, this is a game that you might give a miss.

If we had a crystal ball which could tell us the starting line-ups of both teams then making a prediction would be easier.

What odds on a black card in the opening quarter? It is going to be a very tough game for the man in the middle, but then Maurice Deegan is probably one of the top officials in the country.

Last year Monaghan were not flattered by the final six point winning margin. It would be difficult to see that result again, but the Farney men are probably slight favourites.

Last year Donegal were not ready for the battle. Monaghan were more than ready.

This year Donegal are in a different place and they are tipped to turn the scales, but it will be close.

The An tAthair Ui Muiri and Anglo Celt to be on the Diamond, Donegal Town, on Sunday evening!