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We must peak to match the Dubs - Bonner

Donegal manager Declan Bonner insists his team will need to reach their full potential if they are to overcome Dublin in their Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football Championship semi-final in Croke Park next Sunday afternoon (1.30).

Bonner (pictured), of course, is no stranger to success against the Dubs, having starred in his county's 1992 senior win and a similar underdog victory is not insurmountable, according to the Na Rossa clubman.

"I watched Dublin in their quarter-final win against Cork and they are a good side," he said. "They are well organised and are quite a physical and fit side, and they have some very good forwards so we know the challenge that awaits us. We know on the day that we can match them, however, but we need to make sure that we produce our true form on Sunday."

Donegal's own form has been impressive, starting out with their first-round provincial win over a fancied Derry side, and they have built up momentum with successive victories over Antrim, Armagh and Roscommon.

Bonner's has been delighted with his charges to date but goes into the game in five days' time with doubts surrounding the availability of a number of his panel.

"Our preparations since beating Roscommon have gone well but it hasn't been complete plain sailing," he said.

"We have managed to pick up a few injuries with lads playing for their clubs in the county championship and that hasn't been ideal from our perspective.

"Winning Ulster has been great for the confidence of the panel and the manner in which we came through against Roscommon in the quarter-final was also pleasing so we are really looking forward to facing Dublin on Sunday and hopefully making the final."

With Sunday's double-header close to a sell-out, Donegal may enter the match at a perceived disadvantage to their opponents who have already tasted the experience of playing in Croke Park in front of a large crowd.

However, Bonner refuses to allow that factor to enter his thoughts with his focus firmly fixed on ensuring his team play to the maximum of their capabilities.

"It is every young lad's dream to play in Croke Park and I suppose we could talk about Dublin's history of playing there but we're not willing to go down that road.

"We need to concentrate on our own things and while it is an honour to play there, we still have a job to do.

"Donegal have never been to a minor All-Ireland final before so al our energies are based on that," concluded Bonner.

Blue-bloods of the grade

Dublin and Donegal have experienced contrasting fortunes in the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship with Dublin hoping to qualify for their 19th final since the competition's inception in 1929.

Of those final appearances, the Dubs have been successful on 11 occasions with their last title coming as recently as 2012, when Dublin defeated Meath by 0-14 to 1-6.

In contrast, Donegal have yet to feature in a minor decider, having succumbed at the last four stage on their five previous semi-final appearances.

Donegal's last semi-final appearance was back in 2006 when they succumbed to Kerry by 2-13 to 1-10.

The only previous meeting between the counties as this grade was fifty-eight years ago as Dublin beat a Donegal side that had previously claimed their first provincial title.


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