Donegal minors will face Armagh in the Ulster minor final after the Orchard boys hit 0-3 in the final ten minutes to overturn Monaghan by 1-8 to 0-9.
Speaking afterwards in St. Tiernach’s Park, Donegal manager, Declan Bonner, admitted that he saw nothing that surprised him.
“It wasn’t a great match. After Monaghan’s performance against Tyrone, you would have expected them to come through. But Armagh proved again that they are a hard team to break down. Monaghan scored just nine points, five in the first half and four in the second,” said Declan.
“They (Armagh) play a very defensive game and it’s something we will have to deal with. They came to O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny in the league and made us difficult for us on that occasion. We are going to have our wits about on the 20th July. We are going to have bring our A game with us that day if we are going to win an Ulster title.”
Up to 14 of the players that played against Donegal in the Ulster Minor League game in Letterkenny were in action on Saturday with Oisin O’Neill of Crossmaglen the only notable newcomer.
Monaghan led but 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time but relied very heavily on Barry McGinn, who kicked six of their total and picked up the man of the match award.
The Monaghan boys led by 0-9 to 1-5 with ten minutes left but were hit by the late Armagh burst with points from Patrick Judge, Oisin O’Neill and captain Caolan McConville.
“There was nothing unexpected to see in the game. We tend to concentrate on own performance anyway, getting the players in the right frame of mind to get the best out of them. We know that we are capable of beating most teams on our day when we do perform. We will be looking at that end of things over the next three weeks.
“Armagh, we know what they are. There is nothing new. We know that they will come with a defensive set up and they will try and hit us on the counter attack. It will be fairly tactical.
“Jarlath Og Burns hadn’t a great game today but he is one of their big players. Their captain, Caolan McConville, scored a good late point and he played well against us in Letterkenny
“They have a guy playing No. 11, Oisin O’Neill, who is a nephew of Oisin McConville and he kicked a couple of good scores in the second half. They lost their midfielder to a black card but the sub that came on played a reasonable game.
Their No. 13 Ryan Hughes started well and he looked a reasonable player,” said Bonner.
The Donegal manager would have been reasonably happy leaving St. Tiernach’s Park on Saturday evening.
“Our training has gone well this week. We had all the boys back with no exams. There will be no complacency on our part and 20th July is all that is etched on our mind over the next few weeks,” said Declan.
The Ulster final meeting will be a repeat of the Ulster minor finals of 1956, 1957 and 1992. Donegal won in 1956 but Armagh have won the two most recent deciders.