Donegal and Monaghan collide once again in the Ulster Senior Championship on Saturday next, on the wide open spaces of Cavan’s Kingspan Breffni Park. (Throw-in 7pm)
This will be a fourth championship meeting between the two in the last four seasons. The other three meetings were all in the final.
With Monaghan winning two of those three championship clashes, Donegal have a score to settle this time around.
The counties have also met a number of times in the league and the Dr McKenna Cup over the same period.
The most recent of those championship encounters was last year’s provincial final in Clones. Monaghan won what was a very defensive combat by a single point, 0-11 to 0-10.
Patrick McBrearty, who top-scored for Donegal with 0-6, had a late long range free to tie up the contest. But it tailed wide, allowing Monaghan to capture a second Anglo Celt Cup in three seasons.
Michael Murphy, with two frees, and Karl Lacey and Frank McGlynn, one each, were the other Donegal marksmen, in a game in which Donegal were woefully wasteful up front.
In all they posted 19 wides, 11 of them in the second half as they came from 0-4 to 0-8 down at half time.
Conor McManus was scorer in chief for the Farney County. The All Star forward, who for long periods in the game was the lone raider up front posted 0-6 of their tally.
And with that in mind, Donegal are pinning a lot of their hopes on getting Neil McGee’s red card rescinded.
The Goath Dobhair men is well equipped to put the shackles on McManus.
However, in recent meetings, most notably last year’s provincial final, the Monaghan attacker got the upper hand.
In the event of McGee’s appeal failing, Karl Lacey and Frank McGlynn seem next best suited to marshalling McManus.
Lacey is recovering from a calf injury and there are mixed messages emerging on his fitness and on whether the four time All Star will be recovered sufficiently for 70 minutes of championship football.
The Four Masters man has played very little football in the last two months other than in-house games. Given all that, assigning him to a marking job on McManus is a big call.
Likewise, the withdrawal of Frank McGlynn from his current playmaker role to strictly policing duty is a move that requires careful consideration.
The Glenfin man kicked a point and played a lead role in the build up to both of Odhran MacNiallais’s goals last Sunday against Fermanagh.
Neil Gallagher is reported to be making good progress on his road to recovery and may be in the frame to be in the 26 man squad for the game.
Monaghan and Donegal last met in the league back in April when the home side won a closely fought league meeting in Castleblaney.
An injury-time point from corner-back Colin Walshe saved Monaghan’s Division One status as they produced an impressive second half performance to win in the end by just a point, 1-10 to 1-09.