All-Ireland Championship: Memories of ‘92 stir Donegal from slumber
Donegal's support may have been largely dormant during the National League, and indeed in the early stages of the Ulster Championship, but memories of 1992 will be revived on Saturday.
Jim McGuinness’s feisty outfit cannot wait until they run out at Croke Park in what they feel will be the biggest gathering of fans since the county’s only All-Ireland triumph to date 19 years ago.
And indeed the north-west team’s hitherto latent support will certainly be required as Kildare followers are preparing to mount a mass invasion of Headquarters for what will be their team’s first-ever quarter-final meeting with Donegal.
McGuinness, who has been meticulously planning his team’s strategy for the tie, believes that the atmosphere will be “truly electric” and that this will help to further fire up both teams.
“We were delighted with the level of support we received in the Ulster final against Derry and I think there will be many more people behind us at Croke Park,” states McGuinness.
“This will give the players an added incentive to reach an optimum performance but Kildare will also have massive support.”
While Donegal’s visits to Croke Park in recent years in a championship context have been limited, Kildare have been on regular duty there in both the Leinster and All-Ireland championships.
This is the fourth year on the trot that they have reached the last eight of the All-Ireland series which underlines the consistency the side has shown since Kieran McGeeney has been in charge.
This will be only the second time that Donegal and Kildare have clashed in the All-Ireland series.
Their first meeting was 10 years ago when current Kildare captain John Doyle scored 0-5 in his team’s 1-17 to 1-16 win in Newbridge. Ronan Sweeney, who is also still in the Kildare squad, lined out at midfield in that game.
Many people actually perceive the Jones’s Road venue as a home from home for Kildare but manager McGeeney said: “Obviously this is the venue at which all players want to perform but you have to be ready for the challenge.”