Donegal manager Declan Bonner insists his team go into their Ulster semi-final meeting with Tyrone in Breffni Park as clear underdogs. 

Bonner enjoyed a reasonably successful first year in charge of Donegal, regaining the Ulster title - the county's fourth of the decade but only their ninth overall - and impressing neutrals with their assured and attacking style of play. 

There were irritants in the shape of relegation from Division 1 and, more importantly, their home loss to Tyrone in the final Super 8s game which ended their involvement in the championship.

Donegal re-acquaint themselves with Tyrone on Saturday evening, and it is that Super 8s fixture that Bonner harks back to when pronouncing the All-Ireland finalists clear favourites. 

"To me, Tyrone go in as favourites, there's no doubt about that," he tells RTÉ Sport. 

"They beat us last year in the Super 8s, they got to the All-Ireland final. They're up there in the top two or three teams. 

"We've a bit to go. But we'll be going there. It's a big challenge for us but one we're looking forward to.

"Both teams will focus on attack but you've got to get the defensive elements right. Tyrone have played a more expansive game, especially towards the end of the National League, but they will always focus on their defence."

"They beat us last year in the Super 8s, they got to the All-Ireland final. They're up there in the top two or three teams." 

After a slow-ish start to their Division 2 campaign, Donegal fell into their groove as the spring wore on and they secured promotion on the final weekend, and then showed great composure to overcome Meath in the Croke Park decider. 

Bonner appears content with their spring efforts, saying they used it to give greater exposure to their younger players.

"Throughout the National League, we used an awful lot of young lads and a lot of them have come through now. The likes of the Michael Langans, the Ciaran Thompsons, the Niall O'Donnells, Eoghan Ban, Jamie Brennan.

"We also have the experience of Michael Murphy, Patrick McBrearty is back having been out of football for the best part of a year. It's great to have him back and Frank McLynn and Paddy McGrath. There's a good combination of youth and experience and hopefully that'll make the difference at the weekend. 

"I think the experience will have done those younger lads the world of good. They are definitely improving and getting stronger. Time will tell. It's a big ask for us and we do go in as underdogs. If we get that performance that the lads are capable of, we've a big, big chance." 

Watch Donegal v Tyrone live on The Saturday Game on RTÉ 2 from 4.15pm. Throw-in, 5pm.

Follow all the football action this weekend via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie/sport and the News Now app, listen to live updates on RTÉ Radio 1 and watch highlights on The Sunday Game on RTÉ2 at 9.30pm.