Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: It’s time for the summer to catch fire

EVENTUALLY, after, let’s face it, a few weeks of dead rubber games the championship should catch fire this weekend.

I think it’s fair to say that the structure definitely needs tweaking, but having said that, the powers that be should be allowed the time to make these alterations moving forward.

Personally, I think the championship to date lacked interest, bite and that real championship intensity that we have become accustomed to expecting for this time of year.

Obviously, as a GAA person, I watch as many games as possible, but also being a publican here in Donegal I just felt that there are way too many games happening at the same time and none of them seemed to get any juices flowing like in the past.

I’ve had situations this summer when good GAA people have walked into the the pub and didn’t know who was playing that day or even what games were on TV. Whereas, in the past, those games would be identified four or five days out and everyone would know exactly what was happening.

To back up my point, there are 15 games taking place over Saturday and Sunday this weekend, so it’s just virtually impossible to keep track of what is actually happening this year.

But this year we have what we have and most of the dead rubber games are now gone, so hopefully from this weekend on you should see some real championship action take place.

On Saturday evening Donegal go into battle against Monaghan and there should be a real bite to this as teams battle to finish in better positions in the group.

For me, I am interested to see how Donegal approach this week’s game. Having the cushion of the win against Clare in the bank there is an opportunity for them to have a real go here and try and establish themselves once again as a team to be reckoned with when facing fellow Ulster teams.

There were parts of the Derry game that were encouraging, so it’s important now for us to build on this and really try and push forward for the rest of the year.

The hope for Aidan O’Rourke and Paddy Bradley is that they keep as many of their key players as possible fit as they move into the business end of the season.

Oisin Gallen showed his potential against Derry but it’s now important for him to back up that performance up if he wants to be considered as a top player.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer so it’s key now that Oisin can put a number of strong performances together. If that can happen and he can get Paddy McBrearty in beside him, then things will start to look up for Donegal.

Monaghan will provide a stern test for this Donegal team as Vinny Corey has them motoring well. So, for the first time this year, we should see a real championship tussle in Healy Park this Saturday evening.

On Sunday, the pick of the games for me is Galway and Armagh which takes place in Carrick on Shannon. Both of these teams have shown glimpses over the course of the season so particularly for Armagh after the last outing they need a kickback this weekend.

They face a tough task in Galway as their panel continues to strengthen week on week as they gear up for their assault on Sam after last year’s final disappointment.

When the final whistle blows on the last game on Sunday evening, we will then have our pairings for the knockout stages and that’s when the real action begins so hopefully we get a glimpse of what is to come this weekend as most teams start to grind through the gears.

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