Derry v Donegal tactical take

Compiled by Michael McMullan


Derry: Shane McGuigan has been Derry’s scorer in chief since coming on the scene and his 2-44 (29f, 1m) makes him the fifth highest scorer in Ulster despite missing Derry’s top of the table clash with Galway due to a controversial ban. Such are his sky high standards, he hasn’t pulled out his top performance of the season and Derry fans will be hoping that comes on Sunday.

Donegal: Patrick McBrearty has amassed 4-46 (23f, 1m) across all competitions to make him the highest scoring forward in Ulster, just ahead of Paddy Lynch. His late winner last year sunk Derry and Rory Gallagher will be hoping Chrissy McKaigue can again keep tabs on him

REFEREE: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

It’s the Galbally man’s first Ulster Championship game since Armagh’s win over Antrim last season.

Hurson was standby referee for the 2020 All-Ireland Senior final and was the man in the middle for Mayo’s 0-14 to 0-13 Connacht final win over Galway earlier in the year.

He also took charge of the 2022 All-Ireland Club final, which saw Kilcoo see off Kilmacud Crokes after extra time.


Michael Murphy v Brendan Rogers
Murphy’s presence was enough to suck the Derry defence out of shape when taken in from the bench in last year’s Championship. Damian Comer’s rotation will have given Rogers and Derry’s management team a taste of what they can expect to find on Sunday. It’s how Rogers passes him off to Gareth McKinless further out the field that will dictate how well they can curb the Donegal skipper.

Shane McGuigan v Stephen McMenamin
There may be a temptation to start Odhrán McFadden Ferry on the Derry dangerman, but I think Declan Bonner will take learning from where McGuigan operated against Monaghan, in a rotation role away from goal. Donegal sent McMenamin out to centre back for a similar brief on Gearóid McKiernan against Cavan. If McGuigan is taken out to be Donegal’s version of Michael Langan, this could be a different sort of battle. McGuigan has been consistent, but is due a big game and the freedom could help.

Odhrán Lynch v Shaun Patton
While they won’t mark each other, the two netminders will have a huge say on which bus dashboard the Anglo Celt Cup will rest on. If Derry keep their noses in front and sit back, the St Eunan’s man will work the ball short. It wasn’t until Cavan chased the game that Patton kicked long to make Donegal’s second goal. Lynch helped create 3-5 against Monaghan despite a 54 per cent retention rate. The first half of the Galway league games is the perfect example of what not to do, Derry will need more movement so he’s not hung out to dry.


1 Shaun Patton
2 Caolan Ward
3 Brendan McCole
4 Stephen McMenamin
5 Ryan McHugh
6 Eoghan Bán Gallagher
17 Peadar Mogan
18 Hugh McFadden
9 Jason McGee
10 Ciaran Thompson
11 Shane O’Donnell
12 Michael Langan
13 Patrick McBrearty
14 Michael Murphy
15 Jamie Brennan

1 Odhrán Lynch
2 Chrissy McKaigue
3 Brendan Rogers
4 Conor McCluskey
5 Conor Doherty
11 Shea Downey
7 Paudi McGrogan
8 Conor Glass
6 Gareth McKinless
10 Paul Cassidy
22 Niall Toner
12 Ethan Doherty
13 Benny Heron
14 Shane McGuigan
15 Niall Loughlin

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