The learned GAA judges have spoken, and the Dr Maguire Cup is Gaoth Dobhair’s to lose as the Donegal SFC explodes into action this weekend.

For ex-Four Masters, Aodh Ruadh and county greats, Barry Monaghan and Sylvester Maguire firmly believe that Mervyn O’Donnell’s talented young men’s day has come.

But there is one dissenting voice, as former Ardara and Donegal icon Damian Diver gives a firm vote to his neighbours Naomh Conaill to take the trophy for the first time since 2015.

Unsurprisingly, reigning county champions Kilcar are not in the mix mainly due to the absence of the talismanic Paddy McBrearty.

But that is where they are at their most dangerous and they could yet make the pundits eat crow.

Monaghan opts for Gaoth Dobhair and St Eunan’s to emerge from Group B – the group of death in the senior championship - with Naomh Conaill losing out.

He also believes that Glenswilly and Bundoran can come out of Group A, with St Michael’s fancied to emerge from Group C although he is unsure who will join them, his own Four Masters, Malin or Termon.

Monaghan tips reigning county champions Kilcar and Sean MacCumhaill’s to emerge from Group D.

Maguire also plumps for Gaoth Dobhair to go all the way.

And he reckons that Naomh Conaill can come out of Group B with Eunan’s losing out.

Maguire expects the Michael Murphy and Neil Gallagher to bring Glenswilly through, followed by his Bundoran neighbours.

In Group C, he goes for. St. Michael’s and Termon, and he fancies Kilcar and Milford to emerge from Group D.

Finally, Diver gives his neighbours Naomh Conaill a big thumbs up to take the Dr Maguire Cup with St Eunan’s coming out of the Group B group as qualifiers – and Gaoth Dobhair missing out!

He tips Glenswilly and his own Ardara to emerge from Group A while St Michael’s and Malin are the likely qualifiers from Group C.

And Diver goes for Kilcar and Milford to emerge from Group D.

Let the Games begin!

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.