Donegal boss Duffy wary of Monaghan's underage pedigree

27-04-2019: Donegal minor football manager Gary Duffy against Tyrone during the Ulster Minor Championship quarter final match at Ballybofey on Saturday night. Picture Margaret McLaughlin.
Gerry McLaughlin

Donegal U20 boss Gary Duffy is under no illusions about the threat posed by Monaghan ahead of their Ulster U20 Championship semi-final clash in Brewster Park on Friday.

T Farney boys were Ulster minor champions in 2019 and 2020 and were only beaten by Derry in this year’s decider.

Many of that victorious panel are still available to Monaghan which strengthens their cause.

“We are doing our analysis on Monaghan, and it is a very short window, but we also want to focus on our own game plan and counteract Monaghan where we need to," said Duffy.

“Monaghan have back-to-back Ulster minor championships with this team.

“It's not going to be easy, and they are going to be coming with intent and they will be coming to perform as well.”

But Donegal will not have to face the multi-talented ex-Irish schoolboy soccer star Aaron Mulligan who is tied to the senior side.

“Aaron Mulligan can't play while Monaghan are still in the [senior] Championship.

“Sean Jones hasn't played for Monaghan (seniors). He has had an injury but he could be available on Friday.

“He is an excellent player and that is why he is up with 'Banty' and the senior team. Young (Karl) Gallagher as well.

“If they are available, we have to be at our best to overcome these lads because they have made senior at a very young age for Monaghan.”

Donegal already have wins over Armagh and Tyrone ahead of Friday’s test in Brewster Park and although the win over the Orchardmen seemed comprehensive, Duffy admitted that the Tyrone match was a stiffer hurdle.

“Tyrone v Donegal games bring that type of intensity and leads of five or six points aren’t enough, especially at underage," he said.

“Lads will gain confidence and experience from games like that, being in tight situations and overcoming it.

“Lads learn from that, like Friday night, when they overcame what Tyrone threw at them.

"We’ve got them all set, since Saturday morning. We’re going the right direction with a number of players. There’s been a lot of work done. We have a balancing act.”

But, like their seniors ,Donegal will have to play four games if they want to win the Ulster title.

“We were in the preliminary round and it’s tough," the Tir Chonaill boss added

“We believe we’re on the harder side of the draw too, so there’s a lot of big names from Ulster in beside us.

“It works both ways, especially if there’s injuries or you’re wanting to do preparation work. There’s very little time to work with your own team and what you want to do.

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