Gaoth Dobhair are not taking Bundoran lightly insists manager Mervyn O’Donnell despite being heavy favourites for tomorrow evenings game.
Bundoran will look to build off the back of an impressive three seasons, which has seen them sore to victory in the 2015 Intermediate final and promotion in Division 2 this year on the last day.
But Realt Na Mara, who boasts a strong forward line with the likes of Jamie Brennan and Tommy Hourihane, will travel to Mac Cumhaill Park to gather a taster for next season against a Gaoth Dobhair side, who have only conceded one goal in the competition.
Gaoth Dobhair sealed their place in the quarter-finals against Naomh Conaill with a tidy 0-12 to 0-6 victory last week.
However, O’Donnell doesn’t see this affair quite as clear-cut, labelling Bundoran as an ‘unknown quantity’ after doing his homework on Francie Martins side.
“We’ve got to prepare as we would prepare for any other game,” O’Donnell said. “We are not taking Bundoran lightly in any way at all.
“We got a quick look at them on Sunday and they are a bit of unknown quantity if I am being honest, they are coming from Division two and we must have the mindset right going into the match.
All-County League fans will be keeping a keen eye on the fixture, a game that sees Division 1 champions take on Division 2 victors and the Gaoth Dobhair manager admitted it should be an entertaining game to watch.
“It will be a good game and I suppose they have good forwards and our defensive record has been pretty good all year, so it will be a good test for our defence more than anything else.
“One could end up counteracting the other, but as I’ve said they have a good forward line.”
O’Donnell’s outfit is viewed by many as the overall favourites for the Championship this year, but the Gaoth Dobhair manager believes his string are not playing at ‘top gear’ just yet.
“I have said it a few times but I don’t we are playing to our best, certainly not to our top gear as a team,” he said.
“I think as a team we are still playing at around seventy per cent, I am just hoping Mac Cumhaill (Park) will bring the best out of our players tomorrow.”
“I think if we play to our full potential we can possibly be up there with the better teams like the Glenties and Kilcar’s,” O’Donnell said when asked about Gaoth Dobhair’s ‘favourite’ tag.
“We’ll have to be on top par with that calibre and we have to hit the top gear to do that, but at the same time, we can’t take our eye off the ball because it was only two years ago that we weren’t getting out of the group for the last five or six years.
“Last year was a great year for the confidence I think, and we turned a corner last year,” he added. “That was the big one, it was getting over that little hurdle, realising we have a good enough team to win games. We’ve put a lot of structures in place this year and so far it has been bearing fruit as regards to the group stages of the Championship, beating Glenties and Dungloe.
“We’ve had a good start and hopefully things can go our way again tomorrow,” he said.
O’Donnell’s only reservation came when experience became the topic of conversation and the Gaoth Dobhair leader admitted he was unsure if inexperience could catch up with them in the Championship.
“We have had a good year but the only thing that it might come down to is the lack of experience,” O’Donnell said. “People might talk about under-21 guys winning an Ulster (title) but I have seen under-21 teams all over the country winning and when it came to senior football they just can’t (compete).
“The difference in level between under-21 and senior is massive,” he added.
“A lot of people wouldn’t understand that they think because you have a great under-21 team that you are going to have a great senior team but it never works like that.
“We have a nice blend in the team now but that is the only thing that could catch us out is the being battled hard at Championship level.”Tags: