BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: The Dubs in Croker - roll on Saturday night

BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: The Dubs in Croker - roll on Saturday night

All our focus this week are on the Super 8s and Saturday’s mouthwatering clash with Dublin in Croke Park.

Firstly, before I look ahead to the game, I wish to say I accept that the game was fixed for Croke Park some time back and that it was the Ulster champions against the Leinster champions, and that Donegal and Dublin were not mentioned at the time and couldn’t be because there wasn’t a ball kicked in the championship at that stage.

While Dublin looked odds on to be Leinster champions there was no guarantee Donegal were going to have the season they’ve just had and would be Ulster champions.

The result was it was too late by the time we began to kick up a fuss. The bottom line is the game was never going to be moved out of Croke Park. It would have been nice to get them to Clones.

But that was never going to happen. I still think it is unfair that Dublin have two games in Croke Park which effectively is their home pitch. Hopefully, by Donegal raising it, the situation will be looked at for next season.

Donegal have no problem playing Dublin in Croke Park and never have had and in fact I’m really looking forward to Saturday evening’s game.

A much bigger problem for us than playing the game in Croke Park is that we are going to have to do so without Patrick McBrearty.

It is a huge blow and there is no getting away from that. Patrick is our top forward, our leading scorer and is a huge loss from the attack. He is an out and out right corner-forward and his boots are going to take some filling.

We don’t have any like-for-like replacement so it will be interesting to see who Declan Bonner opts for; it will be a big decision.

But Declan (Bonner) does have options because while we might be in transition we have a strong squad as we have seen so far in the championship.

There is no getting away from it but Dublin are a very mature and experienced side and while they will be favourites I do feel we have a chance.

And besides, regardless of what they say, hunger has to be a problem for Dublin. They have dominated Leinster for well over a decade and they completed the three in-a-row All-Irelands last year.

Hunger is something Donegal have in abundance as they have shown in the championship. We have a young squad with a group of young lads along with a number of older and experienced players.

The young lads have enjoyed success at underage level and they want more and the older lads are rejuvenated by the influx of the younger lads.

Dublin are a very good side and we are going to have to play very well to beat them. It is going to take hard work and total concentration for the 70 plus minutes.

One lapse in concentration and they have the potential to punish.

Given that it seems that Dublin are going to be one of the two teams to qualify for one of the semi-final places, the other place is up for grabs and it is between ourselves Tyrone and Roscommon. That means the games between ourselves and Roscommon and Tyrone and Tyrone and Roscommon are all big games and will decide who will join Dublin in the last four.

We have to go to Hyde Park to play Roscommon which, after watching Roscommon against Armagh, on Saturday, will be no walk in the park.

The final game at home is against Tyrone and may be the decider.

But that does not mean we should not give it our best shot on Saturday evening against the Dubs on their own patch. Roll on Saturday night.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.