Donegal minor manager, Shaun Paul Barrett, was one happy man after Saturday’s semi-final win over Monaghan.
The Milford club man, in his first year in the job, hailed his team after their 3-13 to 2-12 victory over the boys from the Farney County.
“We are delighted to get through today’s game even though we made it difficult for ourselves in the second half but to qualify for an Ulster final is a magnificent day for us,” said Shaun Paul.
Donegal got off to a brilliant start and led 1-3 to 0-1 after nine minutes and were eight up, 2-7 to 0-5, at half-time.
“We played really well in the first half. We did a lot of homework on the way they play the game and get their hands on the ball from short kickouts.
“We pushed up on their kickouts and that forced them to go long and we enjoyed good success in the middle of the field from that and drove forward and got the scores.
“Kieran Gallagher was brilliant in midfield for us throughout the whole game. He is a fabulous player. He is 6’2’ or 6’3’’ and has fabulous hands and is a great athlete as well.”
Even though eight up and in command at half-time the manager insisted they knew the game was far from over.
“We said to them at half-time that the game is not over and it was level pegging and that they were going to come at us and that they had a lot of work to do.
“And that is the way it turned out. They came at us and they did the same thing in the league final; they kicked a number of points but the difference this time was they got a goal.
“We were disappointed with the goals they scored in the second half and they came back to two points of us. I have been saying it all along, Monaghan were the team to beat and they showed that.
“They would have been disappointed with themselves in the first half but they showed great courage and commitment in the second half.”
But the boss insisted that he never lost faith and he had confidence that they would pull through.
“These are a great bunch of lads. I have said it numerous times, they have great character. They have great belief and they have done everything we have asked them to do.
“They have worked really hard all year and because of that we are in the Ulster final.
“We have strength in depth in the squad. Gary Molloy came on today and scored a really great point. Gary has been working really hard in training. Brian O’Donnell also went on and played well.
Both of these lads are under 17. Stephen Carr came on and did well and Ryan Connors went on at the end.”
Donegal are now going to face Derry in the final on Sunday, July 17th.
“Derry are going to be another massive challenge in the final. But we are in the final and that is where everybody wants to be and we could not be happier.”