Although Donegal were crowned All-Ireland champions and the dominant force in Ulster over the last decade, their form in the top flight of the Allianz League hasn’t been as stellar.
The 2012 All-Ireland champions lifted the Anglo-Celt on five occasions between 2010 and 2019 and have competed in eight out of the last nine provincial finals.
However, Donegal have had their springtime ups and downs, securing promotion in 2011, 2014, and 2019, while going down in 2013 and 2018.
Sunday’s 3-8 to 0-7 win over Meath in Navan has moved Declan Bonner’s side to the top of Division 1, albeit after just the two outings following a 0-19 to 2-13 draw against Mayo in Ballybofey on the opening night.
Two years ago, against the same opponents, Donegal bemoaned the fact Kevin McLoughlin overcarried before scoring an injury-time point that saw Mayo pinch another Ballybofey draw to send Donegal hurtling towards the trapdoor on three points.
That’s the same total they’ve amassed already this term.
“It has probably been like a yo-yo experience for the last few years and one of the aims at the start of the year was to just try and stay consistent in Division 1,” forward Jamie Brennan admitted yesterday.
“You have to be playing top teams and that is the way you have to be playing year on year.
There is a good bit of difference between Division 1 and Division 2 intensity wise. In Division 2 you might have that extra second to make a decision.
“I remember when I came into the team and I would have made my debut against top opposition and it came as a bit of a shock and leave you wondering are you able to play at this level at all.
“You are playing against a higher calibre of player, week in, week out. You can’t really take any steps back.
“It is a clean slate week on week and it was nice getting the two points after bouncing back last week when it felt like a loss, the way the thing finished up.
"It is really important to stay consistent and try and push on this week to lay a platform to really attack this Sunday.”
Not unlike Donegal in the last couple of years, Sunday’s opponents Galway have opened up of late.
Although the side managed by Padraic Joyce were pipped at the post by Kerry on Saturday night, when Paul Geaney’s late goal and Killian Spillane’s even later point secured a 1-15 to 2-11 home win at Austin Stack Park, the signs from the west have been hugely positive.
Galway won thanks to a late Sean Armstrong point in Letterkenny two years ago and Brennan admits their arrival this weekend will provide his team with their trickiest assignment of 2020.
He added: “Looking at Galway, they have some serious threats going forward with the pace of Shane Walsh and Brannigan who are also good finishers and then you have Comer and Rob Finnerty so it is definitely going to be our toughest test yet.”