Donegal don't frighten us - Harte
AS four of Gaelic football's so-called 'Super Six' open their championship campaigns this weekend, Mickey Harte insists Tyrone have no fear of All-Ireland champions Donegal.
Having lost to their opponents for the last two years, Tyrone will enter the Donegal den at Ballybofey tomorrow as underdogs – rated as high as 7/4 by the bookies – but Harte believes that his troops are primed for the task.
"There is no point in us saying that we cannot beat this team, that we are scared of them in some way. Absolutely not," Harte declared.
"We respect their capacity for delivering high-class performances, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take that on. We will be going to win this game. Make no mistake about it."
Harte's confidence will fill Tyrone fans full of hope for a game that has been eagerly awaited ever since the draw matched the two northern heavyweights in the first round.
Jim McGuinness' squad, who have won 12 of their last 13 championship games over two seasons, are hoping to successfully launch their bid to make Donegal history by winning the Ulster title for a third successive season.
Donegal, currently 5/1 third favourites for the All-Ireland, were relegated from Division 1 of the NFL last month in a campaign where they had four defeats including one against Tyrone (10/1).
A sell-out crowd is expected at MacCumhaill Park as Donegal attempt to beat their big rivals in the championship for a third successive season.
Down south, two other leading fancies from the six teams at the head of the betting markets – Cork (7/1) and Kerry (6/1) – begin their provincial campaigns.
The Rebels travel to Limerick this evening, with Maurice Horan's men chasing their first championship win over the Leesiders since 2003. Tomorrow, Kerry play host to Tipperary in Killarney, where the prize for the winners is a date with Waterford.
Aughrim will host its first Leinster championship game since 2000 when Wicklow take on Longford tomorrow. Both sides are seeking to put winless league campaigns behind them.
It's an all-Division 2 clash in Portlaoise where Laois and Louth do battle, while a place in the Connacht semi-final against Leitrim is awaiting the winners of London v Sligo in Ruislip.