“Any game you win in Division One is a good day” was the Donegal manager’s opening line when he faced the press after yesterday’s 2-14 to 1-7 victory over Cork.
But the manner of the win and the overall performance of his team was especially pleasing for the Donegal boss, who has guided his side to two wins from two outings in the league and the perfect start to the league campaign.
“We’re pleased with the performance, particularly early in the game, I thought we were very good,” said the Donegal boss.“
He was also pleased with the performances from the newer players, though he insisted they were not as new as they were being described.
“They’re not overly new, a lot of those boys. Peter Boyle, Eoin McHugh, Marty O’Reilly, Eamonn Doherty and Hugh McFadden have all been in the squad previously for a couple of years.
“It takes a little bit of time, and I think they’re maturing. It’s pleasing the way they played.”
After two wins from the two games Gallagher insisted that no one in the Donegal squad was going to lose the run of themselves.
“To be honest, league is preparation for the championship for us. The date we are working towards and it never changes, is June 12, when we play the winners of Fermanagh-Antrim.
“It’s no different from the McKenna Cup. We went out and tried to win games, and we’re trying to improve different aspects of our game and marry that together with our squad and trying to get the experienced players up to speed. A lot of our older lads haven’t a whole lot of work done.
“The important thing for us is to keep working towards June 12th.”
Nevertheless he did admit that two wins from two outings was a good return.
“It’s great to have won two and it is probably unchartered territory for ourselves in Division 1 over the last couple of years in particular.
“It’s very pleasing to have two wins on the board going into the break.”
But he also insisted that they were not going to take the foot off and that they were going to get the heads down again this week.
“We’ll get a good bit of physical work done this week and then we’re obviously going on the training camp. The biggest thing is that we head away there in good form after two good performances.
“We’ll work a lot on our fitness, but we’ll also look at the tactical element, plus we’ll have a bit of integration because we have a lot of new faces and a couple of older boys back and that’s important too.”
While the victory was comfortable the Donegal boss admitted that he was a little worried when Cork came from 1-4 to 0-0 down to come within a point in the middle of the second quarter.
“We probably rode our luck a wee bit. I thought Cork could have had a sniff of another goal or two. We probably defended well, but they will be disappointed they didn’t score.
“They missed a couple of frees that they would normally expect to get and that will have disappointed them, but we’ll just worry about ourselves.
“But they then hit a purple patch and 1-3 in a few minutes to bring us back to a point. I was a little concerned at that stage.
“We were really pleased with how we finished the first half. There was some great maturity and great kicking from Odhran (MacNiallais) in particular. It was a great position to be in at half-time - six points up after playing against a stiff breeze
“And to have won the opening games means we are in a good position though we are well aware there are a few tough battles down the road in the second half of the league.
“The plan now for the second half of the league is to get some of the older lads back playing and game time.
“They are all working on their fitness at the moment. Christy Toye is working his way back to fitness. Karl Lacey was back on the pitch on Thursday night for the first time and we will see how he gets on over the next few weeks.
“Colm McFadden had a wee setback but it is not too serious, just a tweak to a calf muscle. He did not get any training done last week but he had a run out with a number of the rest of the lads before the game and we hope to have him back in full training next week. “
He also said it was good to have Rory Kavanagh back.
“He’s only done something like four pitch sessions. Listen, he’s a quality player and he’s always going to look comfortable, but we’re pleased that he’s back.”