Donegal could be in for a tough time in Sunday week’s Ulster championship quarter-final according to former county star, Brendan Devenney.
Donegal and Fermanagh are having their final weekend of preparations this weekend ahead of the Ballybofey shootout.
Donegal, as Division One League semi-finalists, are expected to win against Division Two side, Fermanagh, but the general consensus is that it will be a close contest and unless Donegal are on their game they could be in for a rude awakening by the banks of the Finn.
That is how former Donegal star forward and commentator, Brendan Devenney, sees it .The St Eunan’s clubman is expecting it to be a close, tight affair and a real tactical battle with Donegal manager Rory Gallagher, a Fermanagh native, pitting his wits against double All-Ireland winner with Down, Pete McGrath.
“I believe it will be a real tactical battle with both teams going very defensive and Fermanagh even more defensive than Donegal,” Devenney told the Democrat this week.
“I watched Fermanagh a few times this season so far, against Donegal in the Dr McKenna Cup and Derry in the league.
“They are a very well drilled and organised outfit and you can see Pete McGrath’s influence in the way they set up and in the way they play.”
Fermanagh defeated Donegal 0-12 to 0-8 in the Dr McKenna Cup back at the beginning of the year.
And although Donegal were experimenting, Devenney was impressed with Fermanagh that night under the Brewster Park lights.
“They were much the better team in that game and Eoin Donnelly had a huge game for them in the middle of the field.
“He is a fine footballerer and we certainly cannot afford to allow the same freedom and domination we allowed that night in Enniskillen.”
Donegal are to have to get back to their old airight defensive system of the Jim McGuinness era and to hit teams on the break according to Devenney.
“A tight defence was the hallmark of our game; that and hitting teams on the break and at pace.
“That was the real strength of our game but as we saw a number of times this season so far we were opened up badly at the back.
“If we don’t return to the tried and trusted we could be in trouble because in Tomás Corrigan and Sean Quigley, they have two in form forwards that can punish us.
“We must keep it tight at the back and then be ready to break and hope that with the injection of a number of the younger lads that we have the pace to open them up,” said Devenney.
Donegal hold their pre-match press night this Friday night in the Villa Rose and there has been very little information regarding their preparations in the public domain.