Fermanagh defeated Donegal earlier this year in the Dr McKenna Cup with the Erne County captain, Eoin Donnelly, turning in a man of the match performance in the middle of the field.
Fermanagh won that game 0-12 to 0-8, on a bitterly cold night at the end of January, under the lights in Brewster Park.
Skipper Donnelly scored two points from the middle of the field and for long periods in that tie he ruled the middle third of Brewster Park.
“That was early in the year and I think things have changed since but it gave us an opportunity to test ourselves against some of those Donegal lads that had won All Ireland medals and thankfully we came out on the right side of the result that night,” said Donnelly, who added that he would be happy with the same result this Sunday.
Despite that four point victory, Fermanagh still enter this weekend’s tie very much the underdogs. And the Erne County, despite their 2-12 to 1-6 preliminary round win over Antrim, are still being quoted at 5/1 by the bookmakers.
“It is not often that Fermanagh are anything other than second favourites going into a championship game and it is not something that will weigh very heavy on us.
“It’s nothing something you can argue with. Donegal have been playing in Division One; they have been challenging for Ulster titles in the last number of years and they are being tipped as All-Ireland contenders.
“That is the way it is and we have to earn the right to get that sort of credentials. To date we haven’t done enough to earn that right. That might change sometime in the future but for now you cannot argue with it.
“Donegal have been challenging for a numbers of years. They have players that have All-Ireland medals and Ulster championships medals. They have experience and they are in their own backyard and they have played in Division One this season.
“It is a big challenge for us but that is the level we want to be at all the time and unless you go and challenge yourself against the best you won’t know what you are capable of.
“We are looking forward to the game and that is what you want to be doing in the championship is to test yourself against the best team. It is a big challenge but not one we are going to back down from.”
Donnelly has never played against Donegal in a championship game, nor has any of his teammates.
And he is not looking beyond Sunday’s game, but he does not hide his desire to lead Fermanagh to a first Ulster title.
“Basically we have to play Donegal and hopefully we get over the line in that game and if that was not the case we will obviously have to re-evaluate after that game.
“It is important for Fermanagh to try and win an Ulster title. It has been talked about for a long time that we haven’t done it and we are still in the championship and as long as we are to win it is our ambition to go all the way.”