Donegal are more than capable of going all the way and retaining their Ulster championship crown despite they fact that they have to overcome Tyrone and Down to do so.
That is the opinion of former Derry All-Ireland winning full-back and four times All-Star Tony Scullion. Scullion, who was in Ballybofey to see Donegal tear his native Derry to shreds the weekend before last in the Ulster quarter final, believes Donegal are a serious team.
And he insists that the retention of the Ulster crown won last year for the first time in 19 years is well within Donegal’s capabilities.
But he also warns that Tyrone and Mickey Harte will provide Jim McGuinness and his charges with a stern test and most definitely will ask more serious questions than either Cavan or Derry.
“Donegal are very well organised with a serious level of fitness and in my eyes they are capable of winning Ulster and after that I don’t know. But once you win Ulster anything can happen after that,” Scullion told the Democrat.
“I know Derry were very poor last week. I think it was the worst I have ever seen from a Derry team. But that should not take away from Donegal and their performance and how the went about winning the game. They were superb and have stepped it up a notch or two from last year.
“They tick a lot of boxes and are a serious football team. Jim McGuinness has done a fantastic job and the players are buying into his system and his way. The thing that strikes me most is that every man knows his job on the field and also knows what everybody else is doing on the field and they are a very good outfit and it will take a good team to beat them.”
While Scullion feels the retention of an Ulster title is on, he does warn that Tyrone will be ready and that Mickey Harte has seen Donegal twice this season and also has two weeks to prepare for the game.
“Tyrone are going to be fit and much fitter than any either Cavan or Derry. It is no great secret that Mickey Harte had Tyrone training before Christmas after he realised following last year’s defeats to Donegal and Dublin that fitness levels had gone up to a new level.
“So they are going to be extremely fit now; whether or not they are at the level of Donegal, only Saturday evening will tell the tale on that.”
The former Derry ace also feels that the O’Neill County will be motivated by the manner of last year’s semi-final defeat after they dominated the first half exchanges but did not put Donegal away.
But despite that he still feels that Donegal hold all the aces.
“Donegal are a much better outfit than they were this time last year. They are more experienced and are playing with more confidence and composure while I’m not sure about Tyrone.
“Personnel wise they are much changed from last year. They have lost a few experienced and very influential players from last season and Mickey had brought in a number of young players and is rebuilding again.
“I suppose the six million dollar question is how they will cope with the Donegal defensive system. That is the great imponderable. But if Donegal maintain their focus and stick to their game plan they should win and if they do I would give them a great chance at winning Ulster,” said Scullion.