Ulster champions Monaghan will face Donegal on Sunday in the final of the Ulster Championship in a repeat of last year’s final.
Monaghan have come through three very tough games to advance this far. They recorded a first championship win in 25 years over Tyrone in the quarter-final and they required two games to overcome Armagh in the semi-final.
Donegal’s path has not quite been as tricky as Monaghan’s, but the Tír Chonaill side have shown signs of vast improvement from their 2013 efforts. The lethargy of last season is gone, and the intensity and vitality which defined their play in 2012 seems to have returned, if not quite to the heights it hit then.
They produced a powerful and decisive third quarter to see off Derry (1-11 to 0-11) in the quarter-final at Celtic Park back in May, and they were very comfortable winners over Antrim in the semi-final(3-16 to 0-12), albeit after a fairly shaky first half.
Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke has named the same 15 that won last time out against Armagh.
The starting 15 includes 11 of the team that lined out in last year’s win. The Conor McManus captained side will be attempting to put Ulster titles back-to-back for the first time since 1930.
And O’Rourke has rejected the suggestion that his players use an “over-physical approach”.
“If you look at us, we’re a fairly small team overall and we wouldn’t bring a physical edge. We bring a high work-rate and intensity, and we’d like to bring a physical edge.”