Donegal wing-forward David Walsh insists the newly re-crowned Ulster champions will look at maintaining their own performance level instead of worrying about who the draw for the All-Ireland quarter-final will pair them with.
Croke Park yesterday confirmed the draw for the last eight will take place on Saturday evening on RTE Radio at 8.30pm. The four provincial winners - Donegal, Mayo, Cork and Dublin - will face the winners of the round four qualifiers - Meath or Laois, Down or Tipperary, Sligo or Kildare, Clare or Kerry.
“Everyone has been chatting about the draw and the question I’ve been asked the most is about who I would like to draw,” the Naomh Bríd clubman said.
“For me it doesn’t matter. There are a lot of good teams left in the competition but if we can replicate the second half performance against Down then we will give ourselves a good chance.”
Walsh was withdrawn at half-time at St Tiernach’s Park on Sunday but has clarified the switch for Martin McElhinney was tactical and not because of injury.
“I had a grade one hamstring problem maybe 12 or 13 days before the Ulster final but was fine before the game,” Walsh continued.
“It was in the back of my mind a little but Jim McGuinness explained at half-time the need to match Down in the physical stakes as they had three or four big men in there and from my point of view, that was totally understandable.
“Christy Toye and Martin McElhinney came in and did well and it’s a matter of horses for courses. Winning the Ulster title again was unbelievable.
“And even from talking to other players and supporters it was perhaps even better than winning it last year, which was a blur, while this year we took it all in. Sunday was brilliant.
“But it’s over now and we have to concentrate on the quarter-finals and for me personally, I want to get right back up to 100 per cent fitness.”
The Donegal panel got back to training with a light session in Letterkenny on Tuesday evening and will lift it a notch tonight. Walsh is unlikely to feature for his club as they open their Celebrity Bainisteoir campaign under model Pippa O’Connor against the side managed by her husband, television presenter Brian Ormond, St Mary’s from Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath, on Sunday.
Leo McLoone scored Donegal’s first goal in their 2-18 to 0-13 win on Sunday and the Naomh Conaill clubman represented the Ulster champions at the launch of the All-Ireland series at Ballintubber, Co Mayo, on Tuesday. McLoone was joined by representatives from the other provincial champions - Andy Moran from Mayo, Dublin’s Paul Flynn and Alan O’Connor of Cork.
“Seeing Michael Murphy lifting the cup again after all the hard work that’s being done was the highlight for me,” McLoone said.
“To win two in a row is really special. Football in Donegal is gaining support all the time and it showed on the field on Sunday. Our run from last year will definitely help us but there are going to be a couple of heavyweights and no matter who you get from now on in, there are no easy games.”