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Rory Gallagher is expecting a familiar Monaghan

By Declan Bogue

The first port of call in the search for clues of what might transpire in tomorrow's Ulster final is the league defeat Donegal suffered in Letterkenny at the hands of this Monaghan side on March 7.

However, that turned out to be an horrendous game of football for all concerned. Donegal got the first four points of that match, but thereafter, they only had one more score for the entire afternoon.

The suspicion then arises that Donegal were keeping their hand well-hidden.

"The weather conditions were horrendous that day," noted Donegal manager Rory Gallagher.

"Fitness levels and weather conditions played a huge part in it, and it was very early in the year for us. We learned a wee bit from it but, at the same time, it was very early in the year and it was only the league."

That shows you that in numerous meetings over the past few years, the challenge is to come up with something different.

"That's going to be difficult. Both teams know each other exceptionally well," Gallagher pointed out.

"This is the third Ulster final between the teams in a row. We have played them maybe three times in the league in the last 18 months too. That's a huge amount of games.

"In regards to playing personnel, I don't think there's anything new that can be thrown. Whatever tactics come up on the day might be slightly new. I'm not sure what Monaghan will do, from that point of view."

Despite that, the Donegal supremo feels he can interpret Monaghan's intentions for tomorrow based on recent performances.

"We expect them to come with a fairly familiar template," the Belleek native stated.

"They played a very similar style of football against Dublin in the league semi-final and Dublin only beat them by a point. Dublin dealt with it better from an attacking view than we did."

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