Declan Bonner is expecting to feel the force of a new focus from Kieran McGeeney’s Armagh in Omagh tomorrow.
Bonner’s Donegal meet Armagh in a Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup at Healy Park (throw-in 2pm).
The game is a repeat of a 2018 semi, won by Donegal at Celtic Park, where Patrick McBrearty hit eight points in a 0-20 to 1-10 win.
Armagh won Division 3 of the League last year and will join Donegal in Division 2 this spring, with McGeeney’s big plan to make inroads in Championship football with the Orchard.
“It’s another test and another big ask for us,” Bonner says.
“We know it will be tough. Armagh have done a huge bit of work over the last number of months and have been in since October.
“They’re really working hard. You can see that they’re very, very physical, they’re very strong and they’re very focussed.
“Their focus wasn’t on it as much last year. You can see now that their focus is on the McKenna Cup.”
Donegal, like Armagh, are three-from-three in 2019 with Bonner’s men having put Queen’s, Down and Cavan to the sword in their group.
But with McGeeney down the touchline tomorrow, the Na Rossa clubman knows a more stern examination of the Donegal credentials awaits.
Bonner says: “He’s had difficult times, especially in the Championship, but no-one works harder than Kieran McGeeney. His teams will always be well drilled and they’re always in really good physical condition.
“We expect nothing less than a real, serious physical battle on Sunday. It’s a challenge we’ll embrace and look forward to.”