Counter Calls It

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

FERMANAGH upset the odds to turn Monaghan over on Sunday but for me it was no big shock as I just think this Monaghan team lack quality forwards with the exception of Conor McManus and that is why they have always came up short when the enter the All-Ireland quarter-finals of the Championship.
That's two years in a row that they have bee beaten in the Ulster semi-finals, where they have been massive favourites. Monaghan seem to struggle under the favourites tag and when the are underdogs they perform much better and that tells me that they don't have the mental strength that the top teams like Dublin, Kerry or Mayo and to a certain extent Tyrone.
Rory Gallagher and Fermanagh got all the big calls right and from the off just like they done against Armagh. They set about their gameplan and defensive structure and carried it out to the letter of the law.
Gallagher and Fermanagh deserve huge credit for what they have achieved over a very short time in charge and with himself at the helm for another few years I would not bet against Fermanagh breaking their long awaited Ulster hoodoo. It is back to the drawing board for Monaghan and it is a very long route for them now to potentially make it into the semi-finals of the All-Ireland.
Down take on Donegal this weekend and the closer the game comes the more I think Down have a massive chance.
After Donegal beat Cavan and Derry I tipped them for an Ulster title (and I'm not ruling that out) but having gathered up some of the stats from the Derry match that has got less convincing.
Derry kicked 16 points against Donegal and had 14 wides, so that tells me the Down forward line will get plenty of opportunites and it's up to the forwards to make the most of them, something that has let them down this year.
If Down are to win this match they will need someone to mark Patrick McBrearty and the man I believe will be asked to do that will be Darren O Hagan. Darren has everything in his locker as a defender and is undoubtedly Down's best defender but I would worry and his physicality against a man mountain like McBrearty - still the Clonduff player is probably the best man for the job.
Another key battle which will likely come to fruition is Shay Millar against Ryan McHugh and whoever comes out on top of that will go along way into deciding who will win the match. Millar was Down's best player in the first match against Antrim but he will be coming up against a much better player in McHugh who will ask questions of Millar in terms of defending.
Down U20 take on Derry on Sunday, before the senior game in Clones, after Derry upset the odds and knocked out hot favourites Donegal and it is a game where Down can win but they will go into it as underdogs, which will probably suit them.
Down play a lovely brand of football and if they can tighten up in defence and stop conceding goals they will be in with a major shout of winning this one.
The Down supporters will be out in their thousands on Sunday in Clones to support both teams and we hope for a double celebration!



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