ALLIANZ NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIV ONE

 Donegal are a better team than Tyrone - Damien Diver

Rivals clash on Saturday night

Tom Comack

Reporter:

Tom Comack

 Donegal are a better team than Tyrone - Damien Diver

Frank McGlynn in action against Tyrone in Ballybofey two years ago

Tom Comack sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

Donegal were better than Tyrone in last summer’s Ulster final and just did not close the game out in the second half.

That is the view of former Donegal defender, Damien Diver, ahead of Saturday night’s crunch Allianz National League clash in MacCumhaill Park.

And the former defender, who had both good and not so good days against the Red Hands during his playing days, still feels Donegal are the better team.

This despite the fact that Rory Gallagher has assembled a new look squad following a whole raft of winter retirements.

“Donegal have been very impressive so far and the young lads have done really well,” said the former wing-back.

“They have done really well at midfield. This was an area that we thought we would struggle in without big Neil (Gallagher).

“We have been scoring well and they have been tight at the back.”

However, the Ardara man (pictured below) does offer a word of caution. And he insists, with the exception of Dublin and Kerry, Donegal have not come up against top tier teams. The wins were over Roscommon and Cavan, two of the lower teams.

“We have three tough games to come. Tyrone and Monaghan, two of the top teams in Ulster, and we are away to Mayo, another of the big guns.

“The next three games will tell us a lot about where we are at in the scheme of things.”

He also feels that Tyrone are a good solid side, with a very good defensive system and a decent forward line, but are probably lacking in one forward of real quality.

He is expecting a close, hard fought encounter with little between the teams, with a point or two deciding it.

However, despite Donegal’s injury problems and last night’s U-21 championship game, Diver feels it is a game that Donegal can win.

“Donegal were the better team in the Ulster final and despite all the changes in personnel, I still feel Donegal are the better team.

“And with the game in Ballybofey, which is worth a couple of points, I fancy Donegal by a couple of points. But it will be close.”

Meanwhile, on the injury front, Rory Gallagher has confirmed that Patrick McBrearty is back in training and he expects the Kilcar man to be fit for Saturday’s showdown.

He also confirmed that Hugh McFadden, who missed Killybegs’ opening league game, and Darach ‘Jigger’ O’Connor, did not train on Tuesday night.

O’Connor was forced out of Buncrana’s league game on Sunday against Malin with a knee injury.

However, Rory Gallagher expects both McFadden and O’Connor to train tonight (Thursday) and is hopeful that they will be fit to face Tyrone.