Belfast Telegraph

Nothing like repetition to add spice to a sporting fixture

By Declan Bogue

Let's be honest, even though Donegal were going in as outsiders at Celtic Park on Sunday, there still hasn't been a surprise result in the Ulster Championship.

Down pushed Tyrone hard in the first game, but really the winning of that game was within their grasp, as it was the year before when they had Donegal on the rack during the semi-final but passed on the chance to stretch them to breaking point.

This weekend Fermanagh meet Antrim, with most believing that Donegal would beat the pick of their two teams in the semi-final.

On the other side of the draw, Tyrone now meet Monaghan, the winners of that colliding with either Cavan or Armagh.

While Monaghan have a mental block when it comes to Tyrone, the Red Hands certainly are spooked when it comes to Donegal. Three times over the last three seasons they have met in the Championship, and very little has changed in Tyrone's approach, losing under remarkably similar circumstances each time.

Which leaves us to hope that Monaghan might make it a repeat of last year's Ulster final. Their manager Malachy O'Rourke never received the praise he deserved for that triumph, but that might change.

In any case, having another Donegal-Monaghan final would be 'a good thing', establishing a novel rivalry between two counties.

You may or may not care, but in the US, the NBA semi-finals are playing out and seem likely to pair Le Bron James' Miami Heat with Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs for the second year in a row.

Nothing like repetition to add spice to a sporting fixture, really.

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