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Dubs legend Ciaran Whelan: 'Donegal to triumph in tight All Ireland final'

Dubs legend Ciaran Whelan has tipped Donegal to beat Kerry in Sunday’s All Ireland final.

The former Dubs star believes that Kerry will have to tear up the tactics book to stand a chance of beating Jim McGuinness’ men.

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Donegal manager and Celtic reserve team coach Jim McGuinness pictured at Celtic Park, ahead of his side's All-Ireland final against Kerry. Photo: Rob Casey / SPORTSFILE

Donegal manager and Celtic reserve team coach Jim McGuinness pictured at Celtic Park, ahead of his side's All-Ireland final against Kerry. Photo: Rob Casey / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Donegal manager and Celtic reserve team coach Jim McGuinness pictured at Celtic Park, ahead of his side's All-Ireland final against Kerry. Photo: Rob Casey / SPORTSFILE

“There is more consistency balancing out in Donegal’s favour. Kerry look a little bit more vulnerable and history indicates that they have struggled in the past to deal with this style of defensive play,” Whelan wrote in his column in today’s Herald.

“Talent may win games but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”

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Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice (pictured) and his Donegal counterpart Jim McGuinness will go head to head. Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice (pictured) and his Donegal counterpart Jim McGuinness will go head to head. Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice (pictured) and his Donegal counterpart Jim McGuinness will go head to head. Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Whelan believes the game will be decided by Donegal’s ability to set the tempo of the game.

“They [Donegal] know how to set up to a large degree. They will add to their game-plan by specialising in targeting Kerry’s key strengths but also trying to expose their weaknesses.

He believes the onus is on Kerry to adjust their own game-plan.

“Kerry have to adapt. Kerry have to find a way to beat Donegal. I would suggest that Kerry, in some way, will replicate an element of the Donegal game plan in the first half.”

Whelan believes that if Kerry are to stand a chance, they must find a way to counter act Paul Durcan’s kicking.

“Durcan’s kick-out strategy is designed to expose the opposition defence. Durcan’s variation in his kick-outs is designed to pull the defence out of position. He will look to go down the wings on every second or third kick. When the ball lands, Donegal have 12 players goal side of where the ball is.” 

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