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McGuinness raps bookies for ‘disrespect’

By John Campbell

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness strongly refutes the Ulster final pre-match bookmakers’ odds which give Down only a 4/1 chance of landing their first title since 1994.

With his own county being touted at 2/9 to lift back-to-back titles for the first time in their history, McGuinness admits he is at a loss to understand just how this is arrived at.

“I think these odds are ridiculous and they are disrespectful to Down,” insists McGuinness.

“Look, Down on Ulster final day is going to be an unbelievable proposition for us. It’s will be a 50/50 game no matter what anyone says or thinks. We respect every single team we play and our priority will be to try and get our own game right.”

Donegal’s victories over Cavan, Derry and Tyrone have understandably pitched them into pole position for the provincial crown but McGuinness is aware of the hunger that exists in Down to end their prolonged title famine.

And he makes no bones about the challenge which he feels his side will face.

“Down are a very good side and if we lose this final it will be because they will have proven the better team, it won’t be for any other reason,” points out McGuinness. “That’s the bottom line on it. We will be preparing the same way we have been doing and we will keep our focus the same.”

McGuinness’ ongoing pursuit of perfection — his attention to detail is already legendary — ensures that he unashamedly remains his team’s biggest critic.

“We know what we want to achieve and it is up to us as a team to keep focussed on our goal. We have to try and get a performance that is worthy of the occasion and this is exactly what Down will be trying to do as well,” points out the Donegal boss.

He takes considerable heart too from the fact that he feels his side is even more hungry than last year.

“I think this comes about as a result of the success we had last year. This Donegal team is now going into their eighth championship match unbeaten that helps to breed optimism and confidence but it guarantees you precisely nothing in terms of the future,” declares McGuinness.

Down manager James McCartan offered a wry smile when he was informed of the match odds.

“Maybe we should arrange to have Paddy Power’s to stay open late on the evening of the final so that we can then go in and collect a suitcase full of money after we have lumped on,” he quipped.

But in more serious vein he added: “The bookmakers are rarely wrong and you can see what they are saying.”

Neil Gallagher remains a big doubt for Donegal after incurring an ankle injury in a club game at the weekend but he will be given every chance to recover fully in time for the final.

Belfast Telegraph

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