Even though he was a worthy man of the match winner, Colm McFadden put Donegal’s victory over Kerry down to the tightness of the defence on Sunday.
Surrounded by the entire national media, McFadden was as cool a cucumber as he revelled in the victory.
“Aye, we have to be happy with ourselves, beating Kerry, who have been the form team over the last 12 years and in the history of the GAA.
“But at the same time we have to keep our feet on the ground and be realistic about it. It’s a good win but we’re only back in the semi-final,” he said.
The St. Michael’s man felt the conditions were not a factor and personally he thought they were okay.
“They weren’t too bad. I suppose the ball was a bit greasy but it wasn’t too bad in fairness. For some boys, the underfoot conditions were difficult but I wouldn’t complain about the conditions anyway.”
Asked about the goal which set Donegal on their way, Colm was equally modest: “I was just trying to send it in to the back post for Michael Murphy. I think Michael went to flick it and his presence probably put the ‘keeper off a bit. I suppose it was an awkward one for the ‘keeper and it went straight in. It was probably fortunate.”
Minutes later McFadden was on the same sideline with the ball on his hand. Did he think of going for goal again?
“No, I actually went for the score that time, but it was a poor decision. It was a bit closer in, on the 20 while the other one was on the 30. I thought I would go for the score but in hindsight it was probably a silly option.”
The modest theme continued when asked about his man of the match award: “I got the scores and a couple of handy ones, but I thought the defence was very good today. They really put their bodies on the line,” said Colm.
Looking forward to Cork, the top scorer said: “It will be a massive challenge. In 2012 they have been the form team and they had a big win against Kildare and it’s going to be a big, big challenge.
“It’s a good win, but we have won nothing. We are just back to where we were last year,” said Colm.
Asked if this was the biggest test of the year, Colm paid tribute to the other teams that Donegal had beaten this year: “Tyrone were All-Ireland contenders, just because Kerry beat them convincingly down there, you can’t dismiss them. You have to give them credit and respect; Down as well. They probably didn’t show it last night (against Mayo) but they put up a big performance against us for 45 minutes.
“Kerry came back and showed just how good a team they are and how dangerous they are. They had only five minutes left and pulled back with Donaghy’s goal. It gave Kerry a lift and Galvin won a lot of breaking ball after it. The momentum really went with Kerry in the last five and thankfully (Rory) Kavanagh picked up a breaking ball near the end and fed it to Lacey.”
Was there a feeling that it was going to be a sad ending, Colm said: “Naw, definitely not. I don’t think that mentality is in the team at all. We just keep focusing in on our job and keep working hard and trying to get the team over the line. There would be no negative thoughts like that now,” said Colm.
A special birthday for Patrick
Patrick McBrearty certainly won’t forget his 19th birthday in a hurry.
The Kilcar forward blew out the candles on Sunday as part of a memorable victory for Donegal over Kerry in the All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park. It looked for a while late on that the team managed by Jack O’Connor were going to be party-poopers as they trimmed Donegal’s lead from six to one but McBrearty insists there was no need to press the panic button.
“I’m absolutely delighted and certainly couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present,” he said. “One of the main things in this team is belief and starting to use that, we got through the game.
Kerry had cut into our lead but at the same time, we knew we were still ahead. We just knew the odds were still just about in our favour.
Sporting a grazed head from a head clash with teammate Anthony Thompson, which lead to a spot of concussion and staples, but that still didn’t take away from the beaming smile etched across the face.
McBrearty has trained with Donegal seniors about 30-odd times and the teen admits himself that his inter-county career has happened at such a whirlwind pace, he’ll soon have to sit down some quiet evening and take stock.
“It was electric stuff and this is where you want to be, at Croke Park in front of big crowds,” he said. “It was dream come through. Maybe I don’t appreciate just how these things have happened but it will sink in with me soon enough. Today was a brilliant day.”