All you need to know about the Ulster SFC final

Rian O'Neill and Daire O Baoill
Armagh and Donegal last met in an Ulster final in 2006 (which Armagh won) [Getty Images]

Ulster Football Final - Armagh v Donegal

Venue: St Tiernach's Park, Clones Date: Sunday, 12 May Throw-in: 16:00 BST

Coverage: Watch on BBC Two NI & BBC iPlayer; listen on BBC Sounds & BBC Radio Foyle; live text commentary with in-game clips, report and highlights on the BBC Sport website

They met in Ballybofey on a wintry January evening, again in the Athletic Grounds in February and for a third time at Croke Park in March - now familiar foes Armagh and Donegal are set to lock horns in Sunday's Ulster Football Final.

This weekend's showpiece arrives just six weeks after the Division Two final. Donegal won that one by a point having drawn the league game in Armagh.

But while Jim McGuinness' men have had a slight edge this year, those results will pale into insignificance once the colour and claustrophobia of the Ulster final takes over.

Both sides will feel pressure. Armagh, who lost the 2023 final to Derry on penalties, last won the Ulster title in 2008, a surprising drought for a football-mad county that regularly produces players of the highest quality.

There is a different type of pressure for Donegal. While Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney - in his 10th year at the helm - and his players will carry the county's weighty expectations into Sunday, Donegal players are always expected to deliver on Ulster final day.

Donegal have lost their last two finals, but with McGuinness already having masterminded wins over Derry and Tyrone, the Tir Chonaill men are rejuvenated as they prepare to meet Armagh in the provincial decider for the first time since 2006.

Here's all you need to know about Sunday's Ulster final.

BBC coverage details

Oisin McConville and Michael Murphy
2002 All-Ireland winner Oisin McConville and 2012 All-Ireland-winning captain Michael Murphy will be the respective Armagh and Donegal representation in the BBC TV studio on Sunday [Getty Images]

BBC Sport NI will have you fully covered across all platforms on Sunday.

The TV coverage begins on BBC Two and the BBC iPlayer at 15:30 BST, with Sarah Mulkerrins joined by Donegal great Michael Murphy, Dublin's eight-time All-Ireland winner Philly McMahon and Armagh legend Oisin McConville.

McMahon joins Thomas Niblock on commentary while Mark Sidebottom will provide pitchside reports alongside Tyrone's three-time All-Ireland winner Owen Mulligan and former Donegal star Brendan Devenney.

Like last year, three-time All-Ireland final referee Maurice Deegan joins the line-up to give his insight on the decisions being made by the match officials.

You can also watch the programme live on the BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website.

If you're out and about and watching isn't an option, you can listen along on Sounds, Radio Foyle & the website from 15:30. Orla Bannon is joined by former Armagh player Charlie Vernon and ex-Donegal player John Gildea, with commentary from Oisin Langan.

The BBC Sport website will be your hub for all of our coverage though. Our live page will have live text commentary, in-play clips, analysis, reaction and highlights.

Line-ups - McCabe back for Armagh as Patton makes Donegal return

Both teams make one change from their semi-final wins. Greg McCabe returns to the Armagh line-up, replacing Jarly Og Burns.

Blaine Hughes has been named to start in the Armagh goal, but there has been speculation that fit-again Ethan Rafferty will take his place in time for throw-in.

For Donegal, goalkeeper Shaun Patton is named to start after missing the semi-final win over Tyrone. He replaces Gavin Mulreany.

Armagh: Blaine Hughes; Paddy Burns, Aaron McKay, Peter McGrane; Joe McElroy, Ciaran Mackin, Aidan Forker; Rian O'Neill, Ben Crealey; Stefan Campbell, Rory Grugan, Greg McCabe; Oisin Conaty, Andrew Murnin, Conor Turbitt.

Subs: Ethan Rafferty, Barry McCambridge, Connaire Mackin, Conor O'Neill, Jarly Og Burns, Tiernan Kelly, Jason Duffy, Oisin O'Neill, Shane McPartlan, Aidan Nugent, Jemar Hall.

Donegal: Shaun Patton; Mark Curran, Brendan McCole, Ciaran Moore; Ryan McHugh, Caolan McGonagle, Peadar Mogan; Jason McGee, Michael Langan; Shane O’Donnell, Ciaran Thompson, Daire O Baoill; Patrick McBrearty, Oisin Gallen, Niall O’Donnell.

Subs: Gavin Mulreany, Kevin McGettigan, Stephen McMenamin, Odhran Doherty, Domhnall Mac Giolla Bhride, Jeaic MacCeallabhui, Caolan McColgan, Jamie Brennan, Aaron Doherty, John Ross Molloy, Charles McGuinness.

Weather forecast

Sunday's weather forecast for Clones
The latest BBC weather forecast says to expect thundery showers and light winds at Clones on Sunday, with a high of 19C and low of 11C [BBC]

How Armagh and Donegal reached the final


Quarter-final: Fermanagh 0-9 Armagh 3-11

Semi-final: Down 2-6 Armagh 0-13


Quarter-final: Derry 0-17 Donegal 4-11

Semi-final: Donegal 0-18 Tyrone 0-16

Last five championship meetings

Rory Grugan scores against Donegal at Clones in 2022
Rory Grugan's goal in 2022 came after just 10 seconds [Getty Images]

6 June 2022: All-Ireland qualifiers - Armagh 3-17 Donegal 0-16 (Clones)

In what proved to be Michael Murphy's last game for Donegal, Armagh produced a devastating performance to knock the Tir Chonaill men out of the championship.

Rory Grugan scored a goal after 10 seconds and Armagh hit an unanswered 1-6 during the first half, while Rian O'Neill finished the day with 1-7.

23 April 2022: Ulster quarter-final - Donegal 1-16 Armagh 0-12 (Ballybofey)

That win in Clones was Armagh's revenge after a hugely disappointing quarter-final display in Ballybofey.

Michael Murphy scored six points while Patrick McBrearty's second-half goal killed off Armagh's challenge.

Donegal reached that year's Ulster final, which they lost to Derry, while Armagh were knocked out of the All-Ireland quarter-finals by Galway on penalties after one of the greatest games in recent years.

14 November 2020: Ulster semi-final - Donegal 1-22 Armagh 0-13 (Breffni Park)

Declan Bonner's Donegal put themselves in position to claim a third Ulster title on the bounce after they chalked up their highest ever championship tally against Armagh.

Donegal had 13 different scorers as they dismantled the Orchard men.

What followed, however, was a huge shock as Donegal fell to Cavan in the Ulster final.

14 June 2015: Ulster quarter-final - Armagh 0-8 Donegal 2-11

Here, Donegal's work was done in the first half as they blitzed Armagh to lead 1-9 to 0-2 at the break.

With Michael Murphy's dead-eyed precision on long-range frees, Donegal eventually won by nine points. They reached the Ulster final that year but lost to Monaghan by a point.

10 August 2014: All-Ireland quarter-final - Donegal 1-12 Armagh 1-11 (Croke Park)

Patrick McBrearty hit the match-winning score in the last minute as Donegal overcame a huge test to reach the All-Ireland semi-finals.

While the result led to Paul Grimley stepping down as Armagh boss, Donegal went on to beat Dublin in the semis before Kerry denied McGuinness a second All-Ireland title.

Nobody knew it at the time, but that Kerry match would be McGuinness' last in Gaelic football management for nearly 10 years.

What lies ahead?

Sunday's winners will face Clare, Tyrone and Cork in the round-robin stage of the All-Ireland series, while the beaten finalists will drop into a group with Galway, Derry and Westmeath.

First up for Sunday's winners would be a home game against Tyrone in Group Three, with the losing team facing Westmeath in their Group One opener.

Armagh and Donegal's first round-robin games will take place on the weekend of 25/26 May.

What else is happening this weekend?

There were wins for Down and Fermanagh in the Tailteann Cup on Saturday, while the Tyrone Under-20s reached the All-Ireland final with victory over Roscommon.

On Sunday, Antrim are in action when they host Tipperary at Corrigan Park (14:30 BST).

And before the Ulster final, Dublin take on Louth in the Leinster decider (13:45). Dublin beat Louth 5-21 to 0-15 in last year's final and are overwhelming favourites again at Croke Park on Sunday.