Donegal preparing for All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin in Meath

Alan Foley

Reporter:

Alan Foley

Donegal preparing for All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin in Meath
Jim McGuinness’s Donegal panel are this morning training at Johnstown House 10 days before their All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Dublin.

Jim McGuinness’s Donegal panel are this morning training at Johnstown House 10 days before their All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Dublin.

Donegal have frequently used the base in Enfield under the stewardship of McGuinness and having departed the north-west yesterday, Wednesday, will remain in Meath until Sunday.

“We’re going away for a few days this week to prepare for the game,” Donegal manager McGuinness said.

“It’s about getting our preparations nailed down.

“We want to get our preparations done by Sunday and then next week will be very much about getting down to the game.”

Munster champions Kerry will face the Connacht flagbeaers Mayo in the first of the All-Ireland semi-finals on Sunday at Croke Park.

Then, seven days later on Sunday, August 31, Dublin and 7/1 rank-outsiders Donegal meet in the second semi-final.

Jim Gavin’s reigning All-Ireland champions have blazed a trail through the championship this summer.

They overcome Laois 2-21 to 0-16 in their Leinster quarter-final before posting a 2-25 to 1-12 victory over Wexford.

A 52nd provincial title was clinched following a 3-20 to 1-10 defeat of Meath and Monaghan, the beaten Ulster finalists, were their All-Ireland quarter-final victims, 2-22 to 0-11.

Therefore, Dublin’s winning margins are 11 points, 15, 16 and 17, with their average return being 28.75 points a match.

“It remains to be seen if we can represent the sort of challenge it will take to beat them,” McGuinness said of Donegal’s chances.

“Until that happens the odds are what they are.

“They reached a level in their own province against sides that played a similar system to themselves.

“They met an Ulster side (in Monaghan) in the All-Ireland series and it was the same result, same scoreline and same difference.”

On a week when McGuinness compared Dublin’s rise to Chelsea’s after Roman Abramovich took control of the club in 2003, the county board released details of fund-raising initiatives.

A draw has this week been launched for the training fund to assist both the senior panel and Declan Bonner’s minors, who are due to face Dublin in the All-Ireland MFC semi-final on Sunday week.

This Friday at Dtwo Bar on Harcourt Street in Dublin, ‘An Evening with Jim McGuinness and Special Guests’ including Donegal players Michael Murphy and Karl Lacey will take place with RTÉ’s Jimmy Magee the MC. The Q&A will kick off at 8pm.

A Golf Classic on Saturday in Lisheen Springs Golf Club on the Old South County on Blessington Road.

“Over the last four years I’ve worked with many people in Ireland, in the UK, Dubai and America and everywhere else,” McGuinness added.

“And they’ve really contributed a lot. We try and be creative in terms of trying to be professional. It would stagger you the amount of money that came in.

“Dublin’s level they’ve taken sports science to and nutrition, strength and conditioning, the amount of coaches they have. It’s a professional set up in every sense. It’s difficult to compete.

“There is no point in us criticising Dublin just because they have their house in order.

“That’s the challenge. It’s up to everyone else to respond to that. It can be done.

“If we were having this conversation 10 years ago, you would say Kerry were the teams that had all the resources. They really looked after their players – jobs, Kerry Group supporting them and all that type of thing.

“But Dublin have just, you know, it was like Abramovich going into the Premier League. It’s a different ball game.”