Bonner: No room for error against Orchard

All-Ireland Qualifiers Round Two

Armagh v Donegal

Sunday, Clones, 4pm

By Ryan Ferry

IT’S win-or-bust for the Donegal senior footballers this Sunday as they aim to defeat Armagh in Clones and secure a spot in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Declan Bonner’s side lost out to Derry after extra-time in the Ulster final two weeks ago.

That would have been a tough defeat to stomach but they have had 14 days to recover and now need to be in the right frame of mind for Sunday’s encounter.

Donegal have already beaten Armagh in the league and the championship this season, but the Orchard County will be on a high after knocking out Tyrone the reigning All-Ireland champions last week.

It will be a difficult assignment for Donegal but Bonner says his side are eagerly-awaiting the tussle.

“There’s a huge prize at stake this week,” Bonner said.

“If you win, you’re through to the last eight. If you lose the season is over. There’s no room for error.

“We know Armagh very well at this stage. They have a lot of strong physical hard-running players in their team.

“They were very impressive against Tyrone and could have even won that game by more.

“They have a certain style of football and they usually don’t vary too much from that. It will be a much different type of game to the Ulster final.

“It’s not going to be easy but we have to win. It’s a game we’re really looking forward to.”

Jason McGee, Michael Langan, and Peadar Mogan all went off in the Ulster final, while Michael Murphy and Eoghan ‘Ban’ Gallagher were carrying knocks in extra-time.

It was a match that certainly tested the fitness levels, but Bonner says most of his players are on the mend.

However, Sean MacCumhaill’s clubman Oisin Gallen – who has had rotten luck with injuries this season and hasn’t played since the Tyrone league game in February – will miss out once again.

“We should be ok. There are one or two players carrying knocks and hopefully they can shake those off.

“It will be more or less the same squad that we had for the Ulster final.

“Oisin is still a week or two away. He’s working hard and he’s very close now.

“Hopefully we will be able to give Oisin the opportunity to show what he can do in the next few weeks.

“But we need to get over the line on Sunday. It’s going to be a challenge but that’s what you expect.

“That’s why you want to play at the highest level to test yourself against the top teams and you have to perform every day you go out.

“There was no back door last year and we’re happy to have another chance this week so we have to take it.”

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