Old foes Armagh will provide the quarter-final opposition for Donegal in Croke Park on Saturday (4pm) after they saw off Meath.
The Orchard boys proved too strong for Meath in the fourth round Qualifier on Saturday, having five points to spare at the finish, 0-18 to 0-13.
Donegal have plenty of reason to fear Armagh as they were their bogey team of the last decade but this time around Donegal will go into the game as favourites.
Armagh have come from also rans to reach the quarter-final and that is thanks mainly to the input of Kieran McGeeney this year.
After falling behind early on against Meath, they came back to lead 0-8 to 0-2 before Meath got back in the contest, but then Armagh pulled away in the second half with the Kernans, Forkers and Stefan Campbell especially impressive.
The win sets up an all-Ulster quarter-final. Donegal spent the weekend in camp in Mullingar while the management attended the games in Croke Park.
This week will now be spent putting the final preparations for Saturday’s tie.
This will be the first meeting of Donegal and Armagh since the ill-fated Qualifier in Crossmaglen in 2010. Throughout the previous ten years, Armagh heaped plenty of misery on some good Donegal teams. They had Ulster final wins in 2002, 2004 and 2006, a first round victory in 2005 as well as the All-Ireland semi-final of 2003.
Many of the present Donegal panel were part of those defeats so lack of motivation should not be a factor when it comes to Saturday’s showdown.
A win for Donegal on Saturday next would see the county create another little piece of history as it would be the first time that both teams would contest an All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park on the same day.
The Donegal minors qualified for the All-Ireland semi-final when they had two points to spare (0-10 to 1-5) over Roscommon in Markievicz Park, Sligo on Saturday.
In a game that was not for the purist, Roscommon employed an extreme defensive policy and Fergal O’Donnell’s side almost pulled off a shock victory as they were denied a match-winning goal in the final seconds by a magnificent block by Carndonagh’s corner back Danny Monagle
The Gaoth Dobhair half-back, probably the most consistent performer during the Ulster Minor League, hit four points from play in a masterful display for Declan Bonner’s boys.
Donegal will now play either Dublin or Cork in the Minor semi-final on August 31st in Croke Park. Dublin and Cork meet today in Thurles in the quarter-final.
Let’s hope Donegal seniors get through on Saturday next and we will have a double header at Croker on the last Sunday in August.