After winning the Ulster SFC for the ninth time yesterday, Donegal are now gearing up for the ‘Super 8s’ – and a meeting with Dublin at Croke Park.
The All-Ireland quarter-final group stage comes into being for the first time next month and Ulster champions Donegal get Group 2 underway on the weekend of July 15 against the Dubs, who won an eighth Leinster title in a row yesterday with a win over Laois.
It seems likely that the Dublin-Donegal game will be played on Saturday, July 14.
In the groups, counties have one home game, one away game and one game at a neutral venue.
However, the ‘neutral’ venue will be Croke Park for Donegal’s joust with the Dubs, as the two provincial kingpins battle it out.
Donegal and Dublin will be joined by Cork or whoever beats them in the qualifiers and Roscommon or whoever’s beats them in the qualifiers.
“Look, we’re in the Super 8s, we’ve got to look at get out of that group, that starts now, it starts tomorrow,” Donegal boss Declan Bonner said after getting his hands on the Ulster crown yesterday in Clones.
A 2-18 to 0-12 win over Fermanagh sees Bonner join Brian McEniff and Jim McGuinness as the only Donegal managers to have won Ulster.
Bonner said: “Even if we’d won by a point, we’d have been happy. We just wanted to get over the line. We did it playing decent football. They went about their job in a really professional effort.
“We took every game as it came and we treated every game as if it was a final. we worked and trained hard and the boys were very professional.”
First-half goals by Eoghan Ban Gallagher and Ryan McHugh had Donegal out of sight – and there was no way back for Fermanagh.
Bonner said: “These boys have worked so, so hard. This was our goal – to get back here and win that Anglo Celt. Some of these boys have lost two of the last three finals. We wanted to rectify that with players who lost those finals and with new lads coming in. This is a great place to be, absolutely terrific.”
Team 1: Donegal
Team 2: Dublin
Team 3: Cork or team that defeats them in Round 4
Team 4: Roscommon or team that defeats them in Round 4
Donegal v Dublin, Cork/R3 Winner v Roscommon/R3 Winner
Venue: Páirc an Chrócaigh
Cork/R3 Winner v Dublin, Roscommon/R3 Winner v Donegal
Donegal v Cork/R3 Winner, Dublin v Roscommon/R3 Winner