Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: Armagh and McGeeney need this Ulster title

WAY back when the draw was made, I would say that most of us expected Armagh to be in the final, but not a lot of people would have banked on Donegal navigating their way through to this year’s decider.

Looking at both teams, Armagh did what they had to in order to reach the final but Donegal shocked us all when they dismantled Derry and dispatched of Tyrone comfortably enough in the end.

Reaching the final this year is massive for Donegal but, as usual, once you reach a final, it’s all about winning it then because you are so close to silverware.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s final, I really do believe that these two teams are so evenly matched. A lot of people say that Armagh are further ahead in terms of their development, but I don’t believe that to be the case because not so long ago a lot of these Donegal players were dominating Ulster. So in that respect both camps have a lot of experience within their squads.

I do believe however, that the Armagh management are under more pressure to deliver than Donegal because haven been there for a number of years with very little success Then a lot of people see this final as a last chance saloon for the current Armagh management.

Armagh need this Ulster title, if that makes sense, whereas should Donegal lose they can brush it off as part of their development.

Before we look forward, I want to look back to the league final between these two teams a number of weeks ago.

Heading into the game a lot of us, including myself, thought that Armagh would have too much firepower for Donegal. Granted, both teams were missing a number of players, but it was Donegal who looked more impressive on the day with Armagh struggling to show us any real signs or aspirations that they may become the champions later on in the summer.

A lot has been said about Armagh’s style and approach when they go more direct. They look a lot more dangerous but in the league final they never even kicked one ball inside. Now maybe they are holding that tactic back and they will unleash it on Sunday, but sitting watching that game they didn’t seem to have any sort of idea of how to penetrate the Donegal defence.

What is absolutely guaranteed on Sunday is that both teams will pull 15 players back inside their own 45 so if we are looking for a humdinger then perhaps this weekend might not be the time for it.

I expect the game to be slow and lethargic with a lot of over and back the pitch holding onto possession. I do feel that this approach is Donegal‘s best chance of success going forward, but funnily enough, I think that this type of approach slows Armagh down and doesn’t make them dangerous because if they start to go route one then they definitely have the players to damage a lot of teams. Whether we see that or not is another question.

I expect Armagh to concede the Donegal kick-out and turn it into a bore fest and what will eventually happen is that after 50, 55 minutes Donegal will start to find the gaps and run out winners by three or four points.

My question is that If I’m sitting here on a Wednesday and I have a good idea that this will happen and it more than likely will, then from an Armagh point of view would no one within that room say ‘hang on guys what don’t we try a different approach and have a real go?’

Wishful thinking but my Mother always said I was a dreamer!

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