"Everyone writing us off" - MacNiallais

DONEGAL INTO ULSTER SEMI-FINAL

"Everyone writing us off" - MacNiallais
Gerry McLaughlin sport@donegaldemocrat.com @dgldemocrat

So, we write off Donegal at our peril?

It’s one of the oldest and most clichéd tricks and has been used by so many “irate” club managers throughout the land.

And Donegal seem to have been the latest to buy into the old adage that “they are all agin us and want to see us bate”.

Team manager Rory Gallagher referenced a number of un-named obituarists in the pre-match press night.

And to a degree he was correct, as the age profile of this time has prompted some understandable speculation.

And on Sunday the outstanding Odhran Mac Niallais amplified that theme.

“Everybody has been writing us off over the past few years so there is nothing new in that.

“And everyone is wanting Donegal to lose but that just lifts us and gives us that extra boost to go out and do well.”

Mac Niallais got on the end of two great moves and delivered the knockout blows to Fermanagh.

But the modest Gaoth Dobhair man preferred to pay tribute to the intricate passing of his colleagues that set up the goals.

“Fermanagh came at us in droves when we lost the man but I thought we dealt with it very well and we got the win, so we are very happy.”

So what was the mood in the dressing room as a 14 man Donegal prepared for a tricky second half.

“When Mark Anthony saved the penalty it gave us a great boost and it might have been a different story if the penalty had gone in.

“So we stuck to the plan and worked really hard to dig out the win with 14 men.

“And everyone will want us to lose against Monaghan too but that just suits us fine.

“It is not going into matches as underdogs but people not expecting you to perform.

“And that just gives us the boost to go out and prove everyone wrong.

So does that “siege mentality” spur on the younger lads in the Donegal squad?

“People are on about the older lads in the squad that are coming to the end of their careers and then there are the younger lads who will need to step up and push the thing on for the county.

“But we look to the older boys as much as anyone.

“They have the experience and they are going to dig it out every day they go out.

“And of course they will look to us.

“And Ryan McHugh and Eoin McHugh were just brilliant out there today with the legs and it is massive for any team to have players like them, no matter how old they are.

“And that is really massive for us”.

When told Donegal were missing leaders like Neil Gallagher, Paul Durcan and Neil McGee, he said;

“Without those boys and Karl Lacey, who are all massive players, it just makes it that bit tougher, but it does not really bother us.

“Any day we put out fifteen players we feel that is good enough to beat any team in the country”.

So all Tir Conaill obituarists, beware the wounded Donegal tigers.

Especially if they come from battle hardened parishes like Gaoth Dobhair!