Declan Bonner’s Donegal U21 side face a tough task as they attempt to dethrone reigning All-Ireland champions Tyrone at Celtic Park tonight.
Tyrone defeated Donegal in last year’s Ulster final – and subsequently went on to lift the All-Ireland title in a close final with Tipperary.
Tyrone were impressive as they dumped Cavan out of the Ulster championship in the last round of the competition, and come into this clash with Donegal with a pep in their step.
Donegal were also impressive for large periods of their win over Derry, but a five-minute period where they conceded two goals almost sent them hurtling out.
Donegal had been in total control, but the concession of two soft goals meant Derry led as the clock ticked towards full-time.
However, Donegal showed great character and responded like all good teams do, and won by the minimum in a thrilling encounter a fortnight ago.
It means tonight’s highly anticipated clash is perfectly poised between two sides with genuine ambitions of winning an Ulster title.
Tyrone still have a number of players that won the All-Ireland last year eligible to play at the U21 grade again this year, and that experience could be crucial for them.
Donegal have a number of players in their ranks that have tasted senior football.
Kieran Gillespie enjoyed a superb debut on Saturday night at Croke Park, while Eoghan ‘Ban’ Gallagher, Jack O’Brien, Danny Rodgers, Michael Carroll and Stephen McBrearty have all impressed for Rory Gallagher’s side.
It should be an intriguing clash tonight at Celtic Park, Derry – and a large crowd is expected to attend what should be a cracking match.
The action gets underway at 8pm tonight.