Colm Cooper ranks Donegal as Dublin's number one All-Ireland challengers this year and he admits he’s concerned about Kerry’s prospects this year.
Speaking on the latest episode of the RTÉ GAA Podcast, the Kingdom legend was impressed by the way that Donegal won their fifth Ulster title of the decade, beating Cavan at the weekend.
He also watched Kerry beat Cork in the Munster final on Saturday and he wasn’t encouraged by what he saw.
"Donegal are the team for me who have climbed up the ladder to be Dublin’s biggest challengers. Whilst Kerry, Tyrone, Mayo and Galway appeared to be Dublin’s big challengers at the start of the year, they haven’t shown anything," said Cooper.
"Donegal have taken the biggest leap so far.
"They limped out of the Super 8s last year. They beat Roscommon, they weren’t great against Dublin in Croke Park and they lost to Tyrone in Ballybofey, which was a sickener for them. I think since they’ve set out this year they meant business and they were hurt about how it finished for them last year.
"I would be very, very confident of getting out of the Super 8s; Donegal are definitely a cut above the rest. Are they at Dublin’s level yet? We don’t really know, but I’m confident that they’ll stay the distance."
Donegal are together in the same All-Ireland quarter-final Super 8s group as Kerry, where they will be joined by Galway and Meath, or the teams that beat them in the fourth round of qualifiers.
As provincial champions the pair will have their first game at home and they will then meet in their second outing on July 20/21 at Croke Park.
"From what we’ve seen so far, Donegal appear to be operating at a stronger level," said Cooper, who has concerns about the Kingdom’s defence and kick-out strategy.
"Kerry seem to be going short with an awful lot of kick-outs and that is a concern to me because the defenders are expending so much energy that when it comes to defending they haven't got the legs.
"Kerry aren’t confident in their game from a kick-out point of view and with the ball dropping in around the square, we have seen a couple of mistakes from Shane Ryan.
"We talk about Donegal being streetwise, Kerry aren’t at the minute. They don’t know how to take the pressure out of the game when they’re under it and they’re very unsettled from positions one-to-nine.
"They haven’t given me any confidence that they know exactly what they are about and that’s the big worry going into the Super 8s. Still looking for that form and that structure coming into the Super 8s is probably cutting it a little fine in my opinion."