Ulster pair are the closest to Dublin but won't threaten them this season

Oisin Gallen
Oisin Gallen scored late on to put the gloss on Donegal's win over Meath

I've no doubt that Donegal and Tyrone are closer in standard than anyone else to Dublin right now.

The problem, however, is that I can't see either of the Ulster sides preventing Dublin winning another All-Ireland title this year.

While they have more chance of doing it than anyone, both of them are just a bit short as things stand. Dublin are so impressive and it's hard to envisage anything other than them lifting the Sam Maguire once again.

Donegal were good in their win over Meath on Sunday, particularly in the latter stages when the leaders in their side came to the fore after they fell behind momentarily.

However, while it was encouraging to see the likes of Michael Murphy and Patrick McBrearty standing up and being counted, it also showed up some of the side's weaknesses.

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'Fresh legs was the difference'- Bonner assesses Donegal win over Meath

Donegal one forward and one defender short

One thing we learned was that young players such as Niall O'Donnell and Michael Langan - and even Jamie Brennan - are just not at that level where you can expect consistency every week and for them to be there every time in the big moments.

They are young and they will get better with the more games they play, but it's left me thinking that Donegal will need another season or two before they can be challenging Dublin.

They look to me like they are one forward and one experienced defender short of being able to beat Dublin.

Meanwhile, I know that Tyrone will play Dublin in the Super 8s, but the chances are that game will be a dead rubber so we might not be able to get a sense of how close they are to them.

Square ball rule has had its day

A talking point during Donegal's win on Sunday was Gavin McCoy's goal for Meath which was disallowed for a square ball.

While I feel Donegal would still have gone on and won the game even if the goal had stood, it was a reminder of how contentious the rule can be. Nobody really understands it apart from the officials and, even when you try to explain it to people, it doesn't make sense.

I played the game for 15 or 16 years and I still don't understand it. I think it was brought in to protect goalkeepers, so that you don't have a lot of players blocking their view.

However, you see goals like the Meath one that are disallowed when they are perfectly fine. I know the rule was altered a few years ago but I don't think it's necessary at all.

It should be taken out of the game completely as that would remove all the confusion.

Good response from Tyrone after a difficult week

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'We had to be at our best' - Mickey Harte on victory over Roscommon

It has been talked about a lot and I don't want to go over it too much, but you don't want to see videos like the one we saw on social media from the Tyrone bus on the way home from a match.

Tyrone and Mickey Harte have come out and said it doesn't represent the GAA, their county or their team and it was good for them to get on the front foot and do that.

I'm very much against religious attachments to songs. There has been a huge shift in this country during the last 20 years and for me the GAA is so much more inclusive than it was when I started playing.

I understand these actions can lead to people saying that there is still work to do, but I don't think the actions of a couple of lads on a bus reflect the GAA as a whole. Hopefully we will never see anything like that again.

It would have been difficult for Tyrone going into the Roscommon game so soon after the video emerged, and it would certainly have been discussed by the players.

The players involved would certainly have had a very difficult start to the week, but they seemed to have owned up to it and learnt their lesson.

I think the team have moved on, put on a really good performance against Roscommon and they will let their football do the talking going forward.

I'm expecting two wins from two

Tyrone’s Cathal McShane with Sean Mullooly of Roscommon
Cathal McShane scored 0-8 in the Red Hands' win over Roscommon

It was a great opening weekend for Tyrone and Donegal, and I fully expect both sides to make it two wins from two when they play again this weekend.

Kerry against Donegal will be an interesting one because Kerry will be a massive threat but I think Donegal can go to Croke Park and beat them.

Donegal weren't at their absolute best against Meath, but were probably playing within themselves slightly, and next week will be different.

Meanwhile, Cork are a dangerous opponent offensively, but I think Tyrone will be far, far too good for them.

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