Declan Bonner says Donegal should take a Championship-approach to Sunday’s Division 2 game against Kildare (Fr Tierney Park, 2pm).
Donegal will seal an immediate promotion back to Division 1 and earn a place in the Division 2 final with a win in Ballyshannon.
Jason McGee returns from suspension to face the Lilywhites, while Bonner is again able to call upon the likes of Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Leo McLoone and Michael Murphy, with Frank McGlynn nearing a return.
“The number one priority is to win the game and to get promotion,” Bonner told Donegal Daily/Donegal Sport Hub.
“With that will come a match in Croke Park. After a League campaign and with Championship coming in eight weeks’ time, you could ask for a better place to be going.
“It is important for us to be in Division 1.
“We’ve been in a very competitive Division 2 this year and a lot of young players have got valuable game time.
“Overall, it’s been a very positive League with so many being exposed to a lot of minutes.
“We’ve learned a lot along the way. Young lads are building for the future and that experience is vital. You can clearly see the lift in the quality and intensity of training since the experienced players have come back. You can’t buy that.
“Every team wants to be playing in the top tier against the big teams and we’re no different.”
Along the way, Donegal have lost to Tipperary and Fermanagh but, in spite of those bumps on the road, they remain on course to return to the Division they left a year after suffering a narrow, agonising relegation on the final afternoon.
Bonner said: “It’s in our own hands. We felt all along that ten points was the magic figure to get there.
“We strive to be better every day we go out, players and management. We’re quite happy with where we are at the moment.
“It’s not so much about points now. We can control what happens to us and it’s in our own destiny. It’s a winner-takes-all game. Going to Cork, all we could take care of was our own game and that’s the same this weekend.”
Donegal fans who made the long jaunt to Pairc Ui Rinn last weekend were worried at half-time when their side trailed by five points. Cork extended the margin to six, but a solid second-half offered real encouragement in the form of a seven-point win for Donegal.
“We have plenty of improving to do, but we showed good character,” Bonner said.
“We didn’t play particularly poorly in the first half against Cork. We had a lot of possession and we were testing Cork, no doubt.
“It was just our final execution or decision making that wasn’t good. We knew we’d get more opportunities to tag on scores – and we did that. Once we started to get on top, we were able to turn it around.”Tags: