HomeFootballUlster SFC: Donegal must hatch new plan to beat old rivals Tyrone

Ulster SFC: Donegal must hatch new plan to beat old rivals Tyrone

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With Derry out, Armagh must be thinking they have a big chance of ending a long wait for another Ulster title.

It helps that they’re looking good, too. Their first 25 or 30 minutes against Fermanagh was full of appetite and desire. They pressed, turned the ball over and took their scores and were out of sight before Fermanagh had the chance to get going.

You look at the Armagh team and their level of firepower is something to behold. Against Fermanagh, they had seven forwards on the field: Rian O’Neill in midfield and Stefan Campbell, Andrew Murnin, Conor Turbitt, Rory Grugan, Jarly Og Burns and Oisin Conaty.

They attacked with variety and played on the front foot and I expect them to bring a similar approach against Down at Clones on Saturday.

Down were my team to watch out for this year. It’s their second year under Conor Laverty and they looked good in Division Three. But after the disappointment of that Division Three final loss to Westmeath, their performance against Antrim wasn’t much of an improvement.

This is an important game for Down though. A win here would qualify them for the All-Ireland series, an opportunity they failed to grasp against Westmeath.

It’s a massive incentive for this Down side, who could really develop if they were pitted in the All-Ireland against the best teams in the country.

Down have a strong running game and could hurt Armagh, but I just haven’t seen enough from their two most recent performances to make me see anything but an Armagh win.

It may not be as one-sided as last year’s semi-final between the sides, but Armagh should be awaiting the winners of the Tyrone v Donegal game in the final.

Michael Murphy was speaking to BBC Sport NI’s Matt Gault

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