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Donegal face strong Mayo test.

By Sinéad Breen Donegal PRO Sat 24th Mar

Donegal face strong Mayo test.
Donegal face strong Mayo test.

The stakes are high as the 2007 league finalists battle it out to stay in the division, in Ballybofey, this Sunday.

Entering the final game of this league campaign, there’s a mixed feeling around the last few months, and how they have gone.
While defeat this weekend means relegation to Division Two, it doesn’t feel as though that would be a disaster for this young team.
However, should they manage to stay up? Regardless of the manner, it can only be seen as a success for Declan Bonner and his team.
At the start of his second tenure, a lot was made of how Bonner will shape his team, and whether or not it will be a continuation of the defense orientated game-plan.
From week one, it was clear he would try and implement a more attacking brand of football with Donegal averaging 16 points per game since.
The biggest difficulty they’ve had is trying to keep defensive stability while pouring more men forward, which has led to the side leaking scores.
Conceding on average 19 points per game so far will be a worry for Bonner going forward, and something they clearly will have to work on.
And that is the key point from this league campaign.
It is clear that this team of youngsters is moving in a good direction and they can continue to do so as championship nears.
The performances have shown that this side has an abundance of natural talent which needs time to mature and develop.
It has served as a good starting point for Bonner to assess a new game plan and refine it on time for Championship; Better to concede three goals against Kildare in the March than in the All-Ireland come August.
So while relegation would be a disappointment, as shown in 2012 and 2014 – it is possible to bounce back from relegation.
This takes a bit of pressure off the players going into the game this Sunday.
As well as that, Mayo are missing two of their key players in Lee Keegan and Cillian O’Connor – who have both been ruled out through injury.
Therefore, the scales are slightly tilted in Donegal’s favour ahead of the game.
If the forwards do their business, and the fans get behind them this weekend, Donegal have every chance to beat this Mayo side and keep their Division One status.

By Sinéad Breen Donegal PRO Sat 24th Mar

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