Donegal are "favourites by a country mile" says Tyrone boss Brian Dooher ahead of Ulster SFC semi-final showdown

Tyrone manager Brian Dooher
Tyrone manager Brian Dooher -Credit:©INPHO

Brian Dooher says Donegal are “favourites by a country mile,” to topple his Tyrone side in next Sunday's Ulster semi-final at Celtic Park.

Donegal hit back-to-back Ulster champions and Division One winners Derry for four goals last Saturday night in a six-point statement victory in Derry City.

The next day Tyrone had to go to extra time to eke out a one-point win over Cavan at Kingspan Breffni Park, having led by eight points at one point in the second half.

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It all leaves the cards stacked against Tyrone as Donegal return to the scene of last weekend’s quarter-final victory.

For the teams it's a hectic schedule and Dooher says respect for inter-county players is "sadly lacking" as his side face a second punishing Ulster Championship tie in seven days.

“There’s no words could do it justice, how good they (Donegal) were (against Derry)," said Dooher.
“It was as good a performance as I have seen. They just dismantled Derry basically who were twice two in a row Ulster champions, League champions.

“That’s what they did, and in some style. They have phenomenal pace, phenomenal work rate. It was a great match to watch actually.
“To be fair to Derry, give them credit too, but Donegal’s goals were real exhibition stuff.

“Jim (McGuinness) was here (at Tyrone v Cavan) – I’m not sure he’ll go away too worried. Let’s be honest about it.
“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that performance is nowhere near what we need for Donegal. We go in and Donegal will be big favourites by a country mile.

“You know what? We’re still there and we’ll go and give a good account of ourselves. Getting bodies recovered will be the big focus.”

Dooher has been a critic of the heavy schedule faced by county players with this week a real pressure point for Tyrone and Donegal.
“There’s some wiser men than me sorting (it) out,” he said

“I’ve said it all year – the player welfare is not there. The players are the last thing they consider at this time.

“What they’re expecting of players who have to get up and do a day’s work tomorrow. Next week it's crazy but that’s the way it is. I’m not the man putting my body on the line out there, it’s those young boys who are giving everything as they have done all year.

“They need a wee bit of respect in the middle of all this. That’s something that’s sadly lacking at the minute.
“They are learning and they won the (Cavan) game for us. That’s the long and the short of it.

“They made the difference and got us over the line and we look forward to them doing it more often.
“We are in the Ulster semi-final.

"The performance wasn’t what it should have been or what we expected but the ultimate objective was to be there. Time will tell how much the extra time will take out of us.”

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