“It was always going to be tough. We missed a lot of chances. We went 4-1 up and missed two or three after that.
“If we had got those points, they would have had to push out on us,” was the immediate reaction of Donegal full-back, Neil McGee, who was fulsome in his praise of young Martin O’Reilly, taking his second goal in successive championship matches.
“It was just another quality finish from Marty. You see him every night at training doing that. He is lethal from one-on-one. It was a really tight angle.
“The quality came through in the end with the likes of Michael (Murphy) and Colm (McFadden) getting some quality points. I know Patrick (McBrearty) was carrying a bit of a knock there,” said Neil.
“We were getting bummed up a bit too much in the lead-up. I suppose it’s early in the championship and the media always have to have something to talk about. It will be someone else to be blowing up now. It might be the Dubs after this week. It will be feet back on the ground now,” said McGee.
“Any day you win an Ulster semi,” says McGee, trailing off. “We don’t take anything for granted, nothing, whether its at training or a game. We have been on the receiving end for too long. Winning is just relief and it’s a great feeling to be in an Ulster final,” said McGee.
“Any day you take it for granted, whether its in the Ulster championship or in Division One, that’s the day you will be found out. It is something we pride ourselves in. We respect everyone and that’s right across the board.
“It takes effort but it’s an enjoyable effort. People always say it’s a massive commitment, but where else would you want to be. You could be in worse places,” says a smiling Neil, who said there were plenty of big hits handed out.
“I took a big one myself out there and was winded for a while,” says McGee, who really enjoys the rough and tumble.
However, he felt there was an atmosphere before the game that Derry would be easily overcome. “I felt walking down to the warm-up, not within the players, but within the supporters; there was a party atmosphere there. They were expecting to see champagne football. Derry were never going to come out and let us play champagne football.
“We knew what was coming. It is a lesson. The supporters have great pride in the team and they would love to see us play brilliant football every day, but they think they appreciate the hard work we do and we appreciate the support from them; the massive support they have given us over the last few years,” said McGee.