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Allianz Football League: 'It's scary what the Dubs are capable of'- Derry manager Harte

Derry manager Mickey Harte and Dublib counterpart Dessie Farrell
Derry manager Mickey Harte and Dublib counterpart Dessie Farrell [Inpho]

Allianz Football League finals

Venue: Croke Park Dates: Saturday 30 March & Sunday 31 March Throw-ins: Down v Westmeath, Division 3 final, Sat 19:15 GMT; Armagh v Donegal, Division 2 final, Sun 13:45 BST; Dublin v Derry, Division 1 final, Sun 16:00 BST

Coverage: Live text commentaries and reports on the BBC Sport website

Derry manager Mickey Harte says Sunday's Allianz Football League Division One final against Dublin gives his squad the opportunity to test themselves against the best.

The Oak Leafers topped Division One with six wins and one defeat, that loss coming against the Dubs.

"It's always good to be in a final, a big final at Croke Park, and another chance to play the Dubs," said Harte.

"It's a big ask but it's good to be there."

"They are the top team as last year's All-Ireland champions, as they have been so many years before.

"It's the place to be. In finals, with a national title up for grabs, and this is Division One. It's the best of the divisions obviously.

"Every team involved this weekend will want to win their title and we are no different."

'Unbeaten run would have created expectation'

Derry fielded an understrength side for their 1-16 to 1-11 reverse at the hands of Dublin at Celtic Park on 2 March.

"It was a good chance we thought to give some players the chance to play against the best in the game. We had four wins at that stage so we felt we were pretty safe," explained Harte.

"Maybe take a wee bit of the heat off ourselves by not going on an unbeaten run which would create all sorts of expectation.

"We've seen that the challenge is there, seen what Dublin are about in the last few weeks, and particularly against Tyrone [a 5-18 to 0-12 win for the Dubs last week].

"I know that Tyrone had a weakened side and experienced players missing but that didn't take from the quality that Dublin produced.

"It's scary to look at what they are capable of."

Gaining Croke Park experience

Former Tyrone All-Ireland winning boss Harte hopes his charges can make the most of the experience they gain this weekend as they build towards facing Donegal in their Ulster SFC opener on 20 April.

"It's good to play at Croke Park and get the Croke Park experience.

"It's a double bill final so there are going to be a good number of people there and it's going to give players the experience of playing on that pitch, experience of players playing against top quality players and an atmosphere that could be intimidating if you didn't know anything about it.

"When the Dubs starting singing on The Hill it's an atmosphere like no other."