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Derry V Donegal Ulster final 2022

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After Derry's two brilliants victories against the current All Ireland champions and last seasons defeated Ulster finalists we will go into this game with no fear. My big concern was the poor return on long kickouts. Galway hurt us in the league with a full press. Donegal have to do the same to utilise the height size they have in the middle third. The Derry keeper is going to have to be brave and give more shorts as he definitely was reluctant at times to give balls that were on yesterday. Gallagher is going to know Donegal well, which will help. Can Bonner adapt to Derrys game plan, very McGuiness type with a quick transition. Mc Kindless the new Lacey? Mc Closkey to Brennan, Mc Kaigue to Mc Bearty. Rogers to Murphy, Cassidy to EB Gallagher. Many conversations between now and Sunday week.

This game will be a hard watch for the neutral but I think Derry are the real deal now and will win by 2.

I'm fearful myself. Not that I think we don't have the players to beat Derry, but our system of play is too one-dimensional and predictable. Ban Gallagher, McHugh and Mogan are excellent at punching holes and trying to create opportunities for others, but you can't rely on that 90% of the time, especially when our long range shooters like Langan and Thompson have missed much of the season so far and, in the case of Langan especially, are yet to get anywhere near their best form. And especially when we often go short on the kick outs and spend at least a minute passing across and back, allowing the opposition to flood back into position. I think Derry will eat us alive if we don't vary things and try to get some quicker ball up the field to Murphy and McBrearty. We are reasonably strong in midfield, but so were Monaghan, so we can't rely on possession and pressure on the kick outs to tip it, especially with the likes of Glass in there.

And we definitely can't leave the back line exposed, one-on-one, to quick ball into Derry forwards in space like we did in the first half against Cavan. If I recall correctly, Cassidy did a lot of damage for Derry against us up the right wing of our defense last year. Bonner will have a decision to make with McFadden-Ferry: does he bring him back in and sacrifice Mogan or Ward (who was very good in both of his games so far). Mogan would be a loss, but might have to be held in reserve at least at the start. But, if Bonner decides to go defensive to mirror Derry, maybe you'd need him for those fast breaks when possession is turned over?

Whatever way we line out, I think Derry are on a mission. I'll be very (pleasantly) surprised if we win this.

Also Mc Hugh needs tagged, no doubt about that, more so than Brennan, Mc Closkey perhaps with Mc Grogan tagging Brennan.

An Watcher:
Absolute snorefest of a final


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