The Ulster Championship gets underway today.
2020 beaten finalists Donegal travel to Down to take on the hosts in the first round of the Ulster Senior Football Championship. The game throws in at 1 pm and is live on RTÉ One and BBC1. The winner will go on to the quarter-finals with home advantage against Derry. The loser will see their short season ended. You can follow all the live action here.
Down v Donegal GAA Championship Live.
Both sides were beaten by Cavan on the way to their provincial success last year. Down were beaten in the semi final and Donegal beaten in a shock result in the final.
Down seemed to be the likely contenders to play Donegal in the Ulster final last year, after leading by ten points at one stage against Cavan, only for the Breffni men to mount an unlikely comeback. While Donegal fell to Cavan in a historic night for Mickey Graham’s men up in Armagh.
Down v Donegal GAA Championship Live: Michael Murphy a major doubt for Donegal
Declan Bonner’s men will have major question marks hanging over their All Ireland credentials after the disappointing end to the 2020 season. This followed the two previous seasons where they failed to get out of their Super 8s group. With that in mind, Bonner will be hoping for a good performance today. He may have to do so without key man Michael Murphy.
Likewise, Donegal could be without Eoghan Bán Gallagher, Jamie Brennan, Stephen McMenamin, Odhrán Mac Niallais and Oisin Gallen. All struggling for fitness.
Despite that concern, Declan Bonner will take confidence that Down are struggling to get going this year. The Division 2 side only just avoided relegation to Division 3 by beating Laois in the playoffs.
To make matters worse, the Mourne Men will have to make do today without star men Conor Poland and the Johnson brothers of Kilcoo who left the panel earlier this year. The breach of Covid restrictions was also a negative in a tough year so far for Paddy Tally.
However, Down do have the pace and talent of former Australian Rules player Caolan Mooney to call on who Paddy Tally will be hoping can lead his side to victory.
You can follow the action here.