When two tribes go to Ballybofey - not long now to Donegal v Cavan showdown

Is it on TV- what's the weather like in Ballybofey?

Michael Daly


Michael Daly


When two tribes go to Ballybofey - not long now to Donegal v Cavan showdown

As I write it's a crisp, sunny Sunday morning here in the leafy Knather, a mile as that tired old crow flies from downtown Ballyshannon.

The eggs are on and the toast is about to be baptised in real butter, it's Championship Sunday after all and we can bend the rules a bit!

There's a flutter in the belly. It's a genetic condition for many and I'm glad I 'suffer' from it too.

You'll never be old if you have that tingle in your veins as you wonder about the mights and maybes of what will happen in a few hours now in MacCumhaill Park, for today our coliseum. No Donegal team yet. Annoys the journalist in me, but adds to the wonder as a fan.

Re-reading this week's column from Donal Reid, a warrior with the scars, quite literally, of championship, you get a sense of the intensity that is building within the Bonner camp. Reid writes: 

"The tribes from the length and breadth of Donegal and Cavan will merge to watch two gladiatorial teams ‘fight to the death’. These tribes will paint their faces with the colours of their respective tribes. Most will don replica shirts of their warriors too. We are the innocents in this spectacle. Most people do not realise that we inherit this tribal trait. We love our Gaelic games because they give us a chance to show our allegiance to our club and county."

Reid concludes: "At approximately, 3.50pm on Sunday, our tribal leader, Declan Bonner will give his final battle cry. His will assemble his warriors. “This will be do or die” he will say. Our warriors will respond with shouts of “Come on, let’s go and destroy them”.

Today is the day. The league was the league, it gets very real at 4pm and Declan Bonner and his squad have a tricky, tricky assignment ahead of them.

Most expect Donegal to stutter a bit, but to win. I'll take that, but Cavan are always dangerous, home or away, although you'll remember a certain championship replay where they fell apart against us in MacCumhaill Park after almost winning at home. Let's hope this new Cavan side, like that one, doesn't travel well.

The experts who write for this newspaper have all had their say and I'm no expert, but I have a few notions that might make sense.

Much will depend on Michael Murphy and Patrick McBrearty both performing very well if not brilliantly. I have a sense that McBrearty has played better when Murphy has been unavailable, it's not a theory I'd like to put to a scientific test, but I long for the day when these two become as one and if both hit Everest together, we will win more games than this one today.

I hope and pray to see Jamie Brennan do what Jamie does best. Go at people. I know there's almost a constitiutional clause written in the minds of many footballers that you must pass the ball side ways and back ways four times before going at someone, but when Brennan goes at people, things happen. Like another son of Bundoran, he's an old fashioned Seamie Granaghan, like Seamie, when he goes forward at pace, he's lethal and much as we need Murphy and McBrearty to click, we need others too to be a threat and more than Jamie.

The toast is ready, so I'll leave you with that and a few things you might like to know:

The weather today

Sunny morning, but a chance of a shower or two in the afternoon in the Ballybofey area, that could make things awkward for players. Temperature crica 15 degrees.

What time is the match?
The senior match throws-in at 4.00pm. 

What TV channel is it on?
The match will not be shown live on TV but you can see highlights of this and all of the weekend’s action on the Sunday Game at 9.30pm tonight.

There is deferred coverage of the match on BBC2 Northern Ireland from 7pm tonight.