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minors zone in on semi battle with donegal

DUBLIN manager Cyril Kevlihan knows that Dublin will need to continue their upward curve if they are to overcome Donegal's challenge in their Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Football championship quarter-final as the clock ticks down to their meeting in Croke Park in two Sundays time, writes Rónán Mac Lochlainn.

The Dubs have improved incrementally since their opening round win over Longford back in April and that progression has seem them register successive wins over Meath, Kildare and Cork.

However, the gradient becomes steeper now with Ulster holders Donegal looking to build on their favourable march through the province and their dogged quarter-final success against a solid Roscommon outfit.

"All four teams left in the championship are there on merit and the competition is getting that bit tougher with every game," says Kevlihan.

""At the start of the year, Donegal were fancied to be there or thereabouts and they have proven that by winning Ulster.

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"They beat a very fancied Derry team quite comfortably and that shows how decent they are as a team," said Kevlihan.

Dublin's confidence should be enhanced by that impressive defeat of Cork in Thurles three weeks ago where Dublin 
overcame an indecisive opening to deservedly book their last-four berth.

The Dubs withstood a late charge from Cork on that 
occasion and it was the manner of their composure that was most pleasing to Kevlihan on that occasion.

"I was very pleased with the overall performance and most of what we did was very good.

"I felt that we responded well to Cork's comeback and that was very encouraging and it is always good for the team development to experience competitive and high-quality games like that," added the Dublin manager.

"A lot of the hard work is done now and the next week and a half is about trying to get the performance right on Sunday week and making sure our preparations are as good as they possibly can be," he added.

The one potential worry to Kevlihan regarding player availability concerns a shoulder injury that has inconvenienced Naomh Mearnóg's Aodhán Fee with manager Kevlihan hopeful rather than optimistic that Fee will be in contention for selection against Donegal.


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