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“Don’t be surprised if you see extra time, a red card, a few black cards” — Donegal v Tyrone preview

Shane Stapleton and Jason Byrne of the Irish Sun look ahead to the Ulster championship clash of Tyrone and Donegal

Shane Stapleton and Jason Byrne of the Irish Sun look ahead to the Ulster championship clash of Tyrone and Donegal.

Donegal journalist Jason Byrne believes there could be a rash of cards brandished when his native county meet Tyrone this Sunday.

The Ulster championship gets off to a cracking start in Ballybofey, with two of the best sides in the game meeting in a do-or-die clash behind closed doors.

The condensed season means there is no backdoor route for the loser, which will no doubt add to what is already a white-hot rivalry.

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“It’s fairly intense,” says Byrne. “My mum is from Tyrone so it’s fairly intense inside the walls of my home house, never mind in Omagh or Ballybofey or Clones or anywhere else.

“The big one [previous clash] that springs to mind to me is 2013 in Ballybofey. Donegal were All-Ireland champions and it was such a cauldron atmosphere.

“Donegal won and got two goals, but it was remembered for Neil McGee’s shoulder on Stephen O’Neill.

“It is going to be strange with no crowd. The place would be buzzing from ten in the morning, easily, if there were crowds.

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“The counties are so close to each other, it’s a massive rivalry.

“I think Donegal will just about edge it,” he adds. “I can definitely see extra time happening.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw a red, because Tyrone will be looking to come down and get into Donegal faces, and Donegal will be looking to do the same.

“There will be a lot of words exchanged, a lot of hits… Michael Murphy is still the difference for me.

“Conor McKenna is the big worry from a Donegal point of view, and Darragh Canavan.

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“Donegal can definitely win the midfield battle and I think they will just about shade it.

“Extra time and penalties wouldn’t surprise me. And maybe a red card and some black cards too.”

SATURDAY
Munster SFC quarter-final
Waterford v Limerick, Dungarvan, 7pm

Ulster SFC preliminary round
Monaghan v Cavan, Clones, 1.15pm – Sky

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Leinster SHC semi-finals
Kilkenny v Dublin, Croke Park, 3.45pm – RTÉ
Galway v Wexford, Croke Park, 6.15pm – RTÉ

Munster SHC semi-final
Cork v Waterford, Semple Stadium, 3.30pm – Sky

Joe McDonagh Cup round 2
Westmeath v Kerry, TEG Cusack Park, 1.30pm
Carlow v Antrim, Netwatch Cullen Park, 2pm

SUNDAY
Connacht SFC quarter-final
Leitrim v Mayo, Avantcard Pairc Sean Mac Diarmada, 1.15pm

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Leinster SFC round 1
Louth v Longford, TEG Cusack Park, 1.30pm
Offaly v Carlow, O’Connor Park, 1.30pm
Wexford v Wicklow, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 1.30pm

Munster SFC quarter-final
Tipperary v Clare, Semple Stadium, 1pm

Ulster SFC quarter-final
Donegal v Tyrone, Ballybofey, 1.30pm – BBC NI
Derry v Armagh, Celtic Park, 4pm – BBC NI

Munster SHC semi-final
Tipperary v Limerick, Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 4pm

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Lory Meagher Cup round 2
Fermanagh v Cavan, Brewster Park, 2pm

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