BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: Tyrone are favourites but it is a game Donegal can win

BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: Tyrone are favourites but it is a game Donegal can win

It is all about next Saturday evening against Tyrone in Kingspan Breffni Park and the meeting with Tyrone.

This is a big game and while I wouldn’t bill it as D-day or anything of the like, it is an important game and one thing’s for sure is we will know where we are at in terms of the championship.

Tyrone, on the back of their win in Ballybofey last summer and the fact they reached the All-Ireland final, go into the game as favourites. The bookies have them at 4/7 and Donegal 7/4 and they rarely get it wrong.

Tyrone have improved from last year and while I would like to think we have it remains to be seen.

Tyrone have changed their style a good bit too and are now kicking more ball and also delivering long to the inside men of Cathal McShane and Mattie Donnelly.

McShane had a really good league campaign and played well in the games against Derry and Antrim.

We are going to have to up our performance in a big way from last Sunday in Brewster Park.

While it was comfortable enough in the end against Fermanagh, I would have a number of concerns from the game in Brewster Park.

I know Fermanagh packed the defence but it is still a concern that not only did we not score a goal in Brewster Park, we didn’t even create a goal chance.

It is all fine and dandy kicking points from long range and that is something we can do well. Michael Murphy and Michael Langan are pretty prolific from distance and they should continue to pick off from long range. But we are going to have to vary our play too.

Strangely enough though Fermanagh played a defensive game they did open us up a number of times.

Young Ultan Kelm drove through us once in the first half without a man laying a hand on him or getting a tackle in.

They did so again in the second half and had a goal chance and they also had a late goal chance to level it.

This needs to be addressed and we need to tighten up in defence. If we don’t the likes of Tiarnan McCann will crucify us.

On the other hand it is an area we can make hay at the other end too. I noticed in their last game against Antrim that when Antrim ran at them they caused them problems and opened them up too. .

It was the Antrim wing-backs that caused them the most pain. This is an area with Ryan McHugh and Eoghan Bán Gallagher we have the players with pace to trouble them too.

Tyrone played on the front foot against both Derry and Antrim. I suspect with Colm Cavanagh back, they may be a little more defensive against Donegal.

Tyrone may be favourites but it is a game we can win. But it is going to take a super effort from the 20 or so players we will use on the day.

Management will have to be on their toes too and get the calls right.

SUPPORT FOR TWO TEAMS

The Donegal ladies are playing Tyrone, also in the championship in ,the curtain raiser. I want to encourage Donegal supporters to get to Cavan early on Saturday and in big numbers and get behind the two teams.

You can be sure Tyrone will have good support. Kingspan Breffni Park is a big open pitch which suits both teams so I’m expecting a good game and a little more open than we have witnessed in the last years any time the two counties meet.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack