Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: A free shot for Donegal

AFTER last weekend’s games, I’m still a little disappointed with the intensity levels that we are seeing in this year’s All-Ireland series.

There is nothing we can do about that now, so we have to simply let it play itself out.

I mentioned last week that I think for next season there will have to be a major overhaul because I just do not see any excitement or real interest in the championship at the moment.

If you are asking my honest opinion, I feel that teams are operating at around 50 per cent at the minute because they know they have to get these games played out the way before the real stuff begins.

Teams like Dublin, Kerry, Mayo and Galway, teams with real ambitions of winning Sam Maguire this season, they are just interested in getting into the latter stages.

They couldn’t care less how they are playing at the minute because they know that the real stuff kicks in three or four weeks down the line.

With all of this in mind, I want to focus this week’s article on Donegal and how I see them going for the remainder of the year.

We are all fully aware of the comedy show of errors that dragged our county through the mud over the last number of months.

So, for a change, it’s nice to be focusing on what is actually happening on the pitch. The win against Clare was massive for this young team because if they suffered defeat then their season would come crashing down around them.

Given the fact that they got the win, they are actually in a decent place right now. The win against Clare in Ennis essentially guarantees they will move on to the next stage of the competition.

So what they have now are two games where they can really cut loose and test themselves against some of the bigger teams out there.

Derry travel to Ballybofey on Sunday and what an occasion that should be given the feel-good factor that is in Donegal at the minute after the win against Clare.

The squad should be absolutely bouncing this week to pit themselves against the back-to-back Ulster champions in your own backyard. Having lost Rory Gallagher, I honestly don’t think that this Derry team are as good as what they would have been if he were still on the sideline. So, for me, that is one of things heading into this weekend’s game.

Hopefully we get a massive crowd to turn out for boys and should they manage to turn in another impressive display then you just really wouldn’t know where they could end up because nothing helps a team better than a positive morale around the camp.

This should be an ideal situation for Aidan O’Rourke and Paddy Bradley‘s team because with the pressure off knowing that they already have a win in the bank. This is almost a free shot and a chance to redeem themselves and try and rescue the season.

I have a feeling that all of the hurt and embarrassment of the last few months off the pitch might just drive this young team on this weekend.

I know that if it were me inside that camp, this would be the game where I would want to prove to everyone that I was as good if not better than what’s out there and no better team to prove that against than Derry.

These two teams know each other inside out having crossed paths in recent years, so there will be a lot of tactical work done from both sides heading into the game.

Obviously Derry are very patient and composed when they have the ball so likewise Donegal will have to be extremely careful and not cough up possession because when you give this Derry team the ball it usually ends up with then getting a shot off.

A win would be absolutely fantastic but I would settle for a very good performance this weekend because all we want to do at the minute is gently build on the momentum of that win against Clare.

Like I said, with each passing week if morale is high and you are still in the mix you just never know where you could go.

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