Good progress for slick Donegal

Peter Campbell, Spor


Peter Campbell, Spor

Good progress for slick Donegal
The last time Donegal visited Pearse Stadium, Salthill to play Galway five years ago, the scoreline at the end was the same - 1-16 to 0-12.

The last time Donegal visited Pearse Stadium, Salthill to play Galway five years ago, the scoreline at the end was the same - 1-16 to 0-12.

The only difference was that it was Galway who notched the 1-16 on March 15th 2009.

On Sunday last the progression that Donegal have shown in 2014 continued, especially in the opening half when they were at their best playing against the wind. Their ability to turnover possession and string passes together was the highlight of the game.

Their goal, fashioned with a lightening quick transfer from their own end line to finish with Dermot Molloy finding Colm McFadden to finish with aplomb was the single highlight of the game. One of the Galway personnel was counting the Donegal passes and he put it at 14 the number to create the Donegal goal.

Minutes later he counted anther passing movement that had 26 passes, albeit a number of them were sidewards or backwards.

The movement for the goal had a typical drive from Neil McGee, who ‘brushed’ aside a challenge before the move continued.

Donegal can be satisfied with four points from their opening two games, but they cannot rest on their laurels.

For Jim McGuinness and his backroom team, the outings have been almost perfect for introducing new talent. He has been able to give players a window of opportunity, and with full points, will now be able to continue in that vein.

No doubt, the arrival of Ulster champions, Monaghan, in just over two weeks time will be a different proposition.

Eamon McGee will be available (and might be needed) and the manager was hopeful that Paddy McGrath and David Walsh may be on the way back to full fitness.

There were plenty of good performances on Sunday last with Ryan McHugh (in trouble early doors at corner back), revelling in the freedom of wing-back.

St. Michael’s Martin McElhinney had probably his best outing in a Donegal jersey and on Sunday’s form, put himself in line for a starting place somewhere on the team when the championship team is being formulated.

Odhran MacNiallais also worked hard in conditions that did not suit the stylish Gaoth Dobhair man.

Patrick McBrearty, introduced early in the second half, was hungry for action and he seems to have recovered the zip he had during the latter days of 2013, which is good news.

Selecting a team for the Monaghan outing, if everyone is available, will create a very welcome dilemma for the Donegal management.

Dermot Molloy has worked very hard when given his chance and he will be difficult to dislodge. And Darach O’Connor has also to return.

Monaghan (and then Meath) will represent a step up for Donegal.

By the evening of March 9th we will know a good deal more about Donegal’s current state of health