The second finalist in the All Ireland Football final this year is Donegal. Donegal is a county in Ulster, which is the Northern province in Ireland. The county, although in the north, is still within the Republic of Ireland.
This will be Donegal’s second appearance in the All Ireland Final championship match. The last time resulted in victory against Dublin in 1992. So unlike Mayo, they are undefeated in the final match. The difference lies in the length between final appearances. None of the current Donegal players were on the team the last time that they reached the championship match. It was 20 years ago after all. However, their current coach was a substitute player on that winning team.
Like Mayo, Donegal is a football first county. They don’t quite have the level of success that Mayo has seen, but they have won the Ulster championship 7 times including the past two years.
This final will also be the first since 1948 where the two finalists are from the provinces of Connacht and Ulster. With the success of Kerry (from Munster) and Dublin (from Leinster) teams from the other two provinces have had quite a difficult time reaching the final. With a Mayo win though, they will tie Connacht with Ulster for All Ireland Football final wins (at 16). This number will still pale in comparison to the totals of Munster (50) or Leinster (45). It is exciting to have some different teams in this years final.
This will prove to be a good match, although due to experience Mayo may hold a slight edge. I look forward to watching this Sunday and trying to learn a few things from the best players in the sport. Maybe my teammates and I can even pick up a few tricks.