Donegal v Tyrone: Declan Bonner expects 'championship classic' in Ballybofey

Declan Bonner's side won this year's Ulster Championship
Declan Bonner says Donegal will need to produce their best performance of the season to overcome Tyrone
All-Ireland Football SFC Super 8s
Dates: 4 & 5 August Coverage: Commentary on Radio Ulster 1341 MW and BBC Sport website

Donegal manager Declan Bonner believes Sunday's big Super 8s encounter against Tyrone at MacCumhaill Park will be a "classic championship encounter".

"There's no doubt about that. There will be no place for the fainthearted," the Donegal boss told BBC Sport NI.

Donegal have not lost a competitive game in Ballybofey since 2010 and Bonner is making no attempt to hide his delight at having home advantage.

"It's brilliant to get it. There's going to be some atmosphere."

MacCumhaill Park's capacity has been reduced from 18,000 to 16,500 because it is an all-ticket game
Declan Bonner is delighted that Sunday's game is being played at MacCumhaill Park

Ballybofey game a 'huge opportunity'

The winner of Sunday's match will earn an All-Ireland semi-final against either Galway or Monaghan although a draw will be enough to secure Tyrone a last-four berth because of their superior scoring difference in Group Two.

Bonner added: "It's a huge opportunity to get into the last four. I'm sure Mickey (Harte) and the Tyrone camp are saying exactly the same thing.

"But at the start of the year, if we were told that we'd be Ulster Champions and in the last eight and playing Tyrone in a winner-take-all match in MacCumhaill Park, we'd definitely have taken it.

"It's always nice to play in your home venue. The lads like playing in MacCumhaill Park but we'll need to get a performance.

"If we can get a performance, get our game plan right on the day, then we'll be in with a chance."

Mickey Harte has been in charge of the Tyrone senior footballers since 2003
Declan Bonner says he is impressed by the way Mickey Harte has "reinvented" the Tyrone team

Bonner impressed by Tyrone resurgence

After giving Dublin "a bit too much respect" in the Super 8s opener at Croke Park, Bonner's side kept alive their hopes with a dominant win in Roscommon but the Donegal boss says the performance level will have to be stepped up this weekend to maintain their All-Ireland hopes.

"We did put in a professional performance in Roscommon without being overly good. We need improvement. There's no doubt about that. We probably need to get our best performance of the season to get over the line on Sunday."

Bonner says he has been impressed with the way Tyrone have regrouped since the Ulster Championship defeat by Monaghan in May.

"Mickey has been there and he's done that. Three All-Irelands and he's been fundamental in all of them.

"He's keep reinventing the team and himself in terms of how their game is played. They are playing to a really good system and Mickey has nothing to learn in terms of championship football."

During the Jim McGuinness era, Donegal defeated Tyrone in successive Ulster Championships between 2011-13 but the Red Hands edged a tight provincial final verdict over Rory Gallagher's team in 2016 before earning a more comprehensive semi-final win at Clones last summer.