Cooper warns loser of Ulster showdown will struggle to claim Sam
Colm 'Gooch' Cooper believes that the loser of Sunday's Ulster SFC tie between Donegal and Tyrone will find it very difficult to get back on track for All-Ireland honours.
Cooper, who heads into his 12th championship when the Kingdom take on Tipperary in Killarney, said that the clash of the All-Ireland champions and Mickey Harte's men is the standout draw of the title race.
"Since the draw was made, this has been highlighted as the tie of the round by a long way," said Cooper.
"And the fact is that whoever loses that match has a long way to go, in terms of qualifiers, to get to the Bank Holiday weekend in August. They will find it difficult to bounce back. It is a long road for whoever loses.
"Both teams will be going hell for leather and it will make for some encounter in Ballybofey on Sunday.
"Whoever does come out of that game with the win will gain big momentum and big confidence for the rest of the year but the losers will have a big job on the their hands."
Cooper, speaking in Galway where he attended a function to honour Padraic Joyce on his retirement, insisted that Dublin seem to be in prime position to lift Sam.
"Dublin had a very, very solid league. I saw them against Kerry in Killarney and they took us to pieces and they looked really good. Tyrone did put it up to them in the final and possibly could have won that National League. But Dublin will learn from that as well.
"A lot of people are saying that they are not as good as they were during the league but they will learn from that league final.
"I think Tyrone are back to being a force again and I certainly think Cork never go away. They have an excellent squad and a lot of experience built up. But we will be giving it a good shot ourselves," added the Dr Crokes clubman.
Cooper said that Galway would have a job to replace Joyce even though there was a lot of underage talent coming through.
"Padraic was a class player who was admired throughout the country. Replacing him is not easy," he said.