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Ulster SFC Final: McGuinness & McGeeney continue 30-year rivalry

Written by on May 9, 2024

As for Sunday’s contest, McGuinness doesn’t buy into the suggestion that Armagh are under more pressure than Donegal as they aim to end a 16-year wait for an Ulster title after all their near-misses on the big stage over the past couple of seasons.

Those Armagh defeats included losing by a point to McGuinness’ side in the Division Two League Final at Croke Park in late March, which came five weeks after the drawn contest at the Athletic Grounds.

“We’ve been in a lot of finals over the last 10 or 15 years but it’s been a while since we’ve won one now,” maintained the Donegal manager.

“We want to do that and Armagh have been building that squad for a number of years now and they probably feel they are ready to go and win it. Even though we’re coming from slightly different places, it’s the exact same thing in both camps.”

And the Donegal boss certainly doesn’t agree with Armagh selector Ciaran McKeever’s surely tongue-in-cheek comment prior to last year’s Ulster Championship that the “real football doesn’t begin” until the Super 16s.

“I spent my whole life trying to win an Ulster Championship. I was fortunate to do it on my first year [as player] and never won another one so I understand the gravity of this game and what it means for everybody, what it means for myself, the management, the players, the people of Donegal.

“I’m aware that the [Super 16s] draw has been made and I’ve seen the groups and I haven’t looked again a second time.

“It’s of no interest to be honest with you whether it’s Derry or Tyrone or anybody else in a group stage after this, it doesn’t matter.

“You are going into an All-Ireland competition. You are going to be coming up against good teams.”

As of last Friday night, McGuinness said his team hadn’t been practising penalties but given his attention to detail, it’s difficult to imagine that hasn’t been rectified this week.

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