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Martin McAviney rallies Ulster support to back Donegal

By John Campbell

Ulster Council chairman Martin McAviney has made an impassioned plea to followers throughout the province to get behind Donegal's bid to win the All-Ireland title for the second time in three years.

McAviney, conscious that 'Sam' has already been brought here on five occasions since 2002, believes that another triumph would cement the belief that football in the province has seldom been in a healthier state.

"While I respect the fact that people like to follow the fortunes of their own county teams, there is no doubt that Donegal have proved that they are worthy standard-bearers of Ulster and as such they deserve the whole-hearted support of everyone," insists McAviney.

"The manner in which they beat Dublin in the semi-final showed that they are an exceptional team and the build-up to the final is proving electric.

"I would like to see people putting aside any differences they might have in a GAA context and instead give Donegal every support they can."

As Donegal manager Jim McGuinness oversees his detailed preparations for the final, McAviney makes the point that a double success for the county is in the offing.

"It's not often that an Ulster county is represented in both the minor and senior All-Ireland finals, but Donegal are there very much on merit this year and the prospect of a double triumph is very real," adds McAviney.

McGuinness hopes to report a clean bill of health for his senior side while minor boss Declan Bonner is also keeping his fingers crossed that he also will be able to confirm a full-strength line-up.

With Kerry forming the opposition in both finals, the Croke Park showpiece will take on an added aura.

"Kerry are the kingpins of the All-Ireland scene as we know and they will come into the final armed with a great tradition," said McAviney.

"But Donegal have shown that they are very resilient, skillful and committed and they will certainly not be found wanting."

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