GAA Football

Former county stars have their say on this year's Ulster Championship

Mark Donnelly says Tyrone, Donegal and Monaghan are the contenders in Ulster
Andy Watters

Mark Donnelly (Former Tyrone forward)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

Tyrone, Donegal or Monaghan - I can’t see any other county challenging.

It’s going to be a big challenge for Tyrone to win the three in-a-row. Donegal will have got fitter and sharper since the League but I feel Tyrone have developed since last year and have unearthed a few stars such as Lee Breenan and Frank Burns.

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

Frank Burns. He had great end to the League and has been in outstanding form for Pomeroy. He can have a big impact on the Championship.

Bernie Murray (Monaghan coach)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

Monaghan

Who are the dark horses?

Cavan

Who are you most looking forward to seeing and why?

I expect Kieran Hughes, who has a fantastic array of skills, to light up this year’s Ulster Championship. I think the extended break Kieran got will leave him fresh.

Eamon McGee (Donegal All-Ireland winner)

Who will win the All-Ireland Championship?

Dublin. They are still ahead of the pack, but not as far ahead as some suggest.

Who are the dark horses?

Roscommon will beat a big team. I'm not sure they will get to semi-final but will cause headaches for anyone who meets them in Super8s

Who are you most looking forward to seeing and why?

Niall O Donnell (Donegal). He’s a great underage prospect in our county.

I've seen what he can do in club games and if he can transfer that over to the inter-county game he will be an amazing talent.

Tony Scullion (Legendary Derry full-back and current Sligo coach)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

Tyrone will come out on top.

Who are the dark horses?

Monaghan will be knocking the door loudly.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing and why?

Looking forward to watching Seamie Quigley, he’s a player who can bring his top form to the fore when it counts.

Brendan McVeigh (former Down goalkeeper)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

Tyrone

Who are the dark horses?

Cavan

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

I always love watching Conor McManus and Paddy McBearty.

Both lads are unmarkable on their day.

Peter Harte also is an outstanding footballer that you could watch all day long (but not when he's scoring penalties past you!)

I love keeping an eye on the goalkeepers and seeing how the role is evolving. Niall Morgan is right up there and in my eyes is the best ’keeper in Ireland.

Benny Coulter (Down Allstar)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

Tyrone

Who are the dark horses?

Donegal dark horses but Down will test them if they meet.

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

Caolan Moooney of Down. He was brilliant in the League and is flying in club games.

Also looking forward to seeing what shape Michael Murphy is in the year and if Donegal play him inside.

Colm Bradley (former Fermanagh forward)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

Monaghan. They are Championship tough and if they click up front have the best attack in the Province. Defensively they have good man markers and a well-tested system.

Who are the dark horses?

Cavan are my dark horses. That's not to say I would be entirely confident in them overcoming Donegal, but Cavan have been consistent this season and are always a team who plays better without pressure. There was no expectation on them this year and they have excelled.

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

Connaire Harrison (Down) was exceptional at times last season and he seems a player who revels in Championship action.

For Down to do well he will have to be on form and when he is in the mood he is as unpredictable as he can be brilliant.

Paddy Cunningham (former Antrim forward)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

The winners will come from the Monaghan-Tyrone game, they are just a step above the rest of the counties in Ulster at the moment.

Who are the dark horses?

Donegal. They have a couple of games to build on before potentially reaching the Ulster final. They seem to have a good mix of youth and experience and unearthed a few new players over their Division One campaign

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

Lee Brennan (Tyrone). He’s been an exciting prospect for the last number of years and has had to be very patient in waiting to for his opportunity in Tyrone’s starting 15. He could light up this year’s Championship as he is more than capable and has a point to prove.

Martin Dunne (former Cavan forward)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

It's very hard to look past Tyrone.

Who are the dark horses?

Whoever wins between Donegal and Cavan will go very close.

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

Mark Bradley (Tyrone) is a very classy player. His movement and scoring make him one of the best players to watch live. Worth the entrance fee alone to watch him.

Stefan Forker (former Armagh forward)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

Tyrone blew everyone in Ulster away last year and although I don’t see them doing that this year I fancy them to win another title.

Who are the dark horses?

Donegal have had a good league and seem to be refreshed, introducing new players as well as having some of the more experienced players still around. I think they will cause any team trouble especially if Paddy McBrearty continues his form.

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

Paddy McBrearty but also mark Bradley for Tyrone. I think he is Tyrone’s best forward and if given the right role his pace and intelligent movement can make him unplayable at times.

Michael Hannon (former Cavan star)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

Tyrone

Who are the dark horses?

Monaghan, not that you can call them dark horses, but if they can upset slight favourites Tyrone in round one then I think they'll go all the way.

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

Paddy McBrearty, I think he has elevated his game in the last 18 months and is now the marquee forward in the province. Was really looking forward to seeing Dara McVeety in action for Cavan but injury might not allow that.

Chris Lawn (former Tyrone full-back)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

Tyrone

Who are the dark horses?

Armagh

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

Lee Brennan

Rory Dunne (former Cavan full-back)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

Tyrone or Monaghan..At the start of the year Tyrone probably would have been strong favorites but Monaghan sent out a clear message in the league that they mean business by beating so many teams including Tyrone.

Who are the dark horses?

Cavan will fancy their chances along with Donegal and whoever comes out on top there will see themselves with a good chance of making an Ulster final

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

I’m looking forward to seeing what Lee Brennan from Tyrone can produce in Ulster Championship football. Seems to be a very classy player and highly regarded so it'll be interesting to see if he can make the step up.

I'd also love to see Dara McVeety get a run of Championship games.

Marty O’Brien (former Fermanagh defender)

Who will win the Ulster Championship?

My head is saying Monaghan. They have a huge game against Tyrone in the opening round but I think they have shown in this year’s League they have what it takes to end the Tyrone reign

Who are the dark horses?

My heart is saying Fermanagh! I fancy them to beat Armagh. They have a poor record against Armagh lately that will have to end some day and the League proved they are not that far away, even when they didn’t seem to play their best. If they do beat Armagh they have the potential to put it up to Monaghan or Tyrone and anything could happen if they give themselves a chance late into the game in an Ulster semi-final- maybe that’s wishful thinking.

Who are you most looking forward to watching play and why?

Seamie Quigley. He had a good League as he has done in the past a few times, but for whatever reason he has never made the big impact in the Championship he looks as well poised as ever to do it this year. If he hits form, Fermanagh will be a tough opponent for anyone.

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