Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: Ballybofey game will tell a tale about Tyrone

AFTER a whirlwind Ulster Championship, we were straight back into action last weekend with the first round of the All-Ireland series and four games down for decision.

Kerry ran out convincing winners against a disappointing Monaghan team who now find themselves with a real uphill battle to continue their progress in the competition.

Vinny Corey will be extremely disappointed with how his side played on the day. Having said that, Kerry have certainly ramped it up a gear or two from what we have seen from them to date.

That is the massive advantage that the likes of Kerry and Dublin have over the rest. Their seasons are only really getting started now, whereas Ulster teams would have been all out for the last five or six weeks preparing for their provincial championship campaign.

Take nothing away from the Kingdom though. They looked slick in attack especially in the first half and there is no doubt that over the next few weeks we will see them ramp things up even further.

Galway took the points in Salthill. Now, I know Derry had never beaten them in a championship match before but I thought we would see more of a reaction from Mickey Harte’s men given how disappointing they were in Ulster.

There is no doubt that the sending off of Gareth McKinless had a massive bearing on the game. Aside from that, Mickey Harte has a lot of work to do with this Derry team if they are to get their season back on track and head for the dizzy heights that everyone thought they would be hitting this summer.

The action continues this weekend and the standout fixture is without doubt in Ballybofey on Saturday evening when Tyrone and Donegal lock horns once more.

These teams went toe to toe a number of weeks ago in Ulster. If we are being honest, Tyrone would have been severely disappointed that they failed to see that game out because they had the game wrapped up on a number of occasions.

I said here at the very start of the season that I felt Tyrone would have a big say in this year‘s championship. I still stand by that but I hope that they don’t find form until next weekend.

Donegal are flying high after the Ulster Championship win and I expect that run to continue on Saturday evening. A win on the opening day of the All-Ireland series takes the pressure off as you are almost guaranteed to qualify from the group with one win.

I expect that this game will be different to the one we saw in Celtic Park with both teams perhaps playing with a little more freedom given the fact that both have two more games after this one.

I expect Donegal to win but I am interested to see what sort of line-up Tyrone will come with and whether or not they have any of their big hitters back who missed the clash in Celtic Park as it will tell us a lot about how the rest of their season might go.

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