Donegal minor dream ends

Donegal minor dream ends
Peter Campbell @dgldemocrat

The loss of Aidan McLaughlin to sickness was a factor, but could Donegal Minors have done much better on Sunday against Connacht champions, Galway.

McLaughlin had to leave the field after 25 minutes in the Croke Park All-Ireland minor semi-final and he was a huge loss. The Naomh Padraig, Muff, player has been one of the most consistent players for Shaun Paul Barrett’s team this year; his ability to break the tackle and take a score has been his hallmark, and he has also been one Donegal player who had a consistent performance from the start of each game to the end.

But it might be stretching it to say that McLaughlin’s loss was the main cause of Donegal’s defeat. Donegal mentor, Neilly Byrne, feels that Donegal met a very good Galway side, but also felt that they “made it easy” for them.

“We did not perform in a lot of areas,” said the Kilcar man, speaking on Tuesday, after having had time to digest the disappointment.

“We did well in some areas, but Galway were probably a better side,” said Byrne, who felt that Mark Curran did well and had improved during the entire campaign.

“Our midfield competed well. Jason McGee is a good footballer and it will be interesting to see how these players develop as they become seniors,” said Byrne, who pointed out also that Niall O’Donnell is an excellent player and they would will be watching him going forward. He also mentioned the performance of Peadar Mogan, especially in an attacking role.

On a scale of disappointment, the Kilcar man said Sunday’s defeat wasn’t in the same category as losing the All-Ireland schools’ semi-final in Cusack Park, Mullingar a couple of years ago.

Byrne paid tribute to minor manager, Shaun Paul Barrett, for his enthusiastic approach to the role of minor manager. “Winning an Ulster Minor Championship was a great achievement. Shaun Paul puts his heart and soul into it and he will do the same next year,” said Byrne, who said that they would probably have a meeting in the next few weeks to plan for next year.


Donegal 1-11

Galway 2-12

Donegal could have few complaints with the final outcome as Galway could have had a bigger margin of victory if they had taken all their chances.

From early on it was evident that they had a real attacking threat, their first score being a goal from Robert Finnerty, who along with Desmond Conneely, gave the Donegal last line a difficult afternoon.

Donegal were hanging on and lucky to be just 1-6 to 0-6 adrift at half-time. Niall O’Donnell was denied a goal by the Galway ‘keeper just after the restart, but when Galway added a second goal on 51 minutes through Conneely, it looked curtains.

To be fair, Donegal hit back with a magnificent goal from Enda McCormick (after good build-up work from Niall O’Donnell and Peadar Mogan), but they were unable to bridge the gap completely, even though they almost got a second goal with the final attack.

Donegal: Gavin Mulreany; Seaghan Ferry, Aaron McCrea, Mark Curran; JD Boyle (0-1), Aaron Deeney, Aidan McLaughlin; Jason McGee (0-2, 1’45), Kieran Gallagher; Nathan Boyle, Niall O'Donnell (0-2,1f), Enda McCormick (1-0); Peadar Mogan (0-3, 2f), Eoghan McGettigan (0-2), Odhrán McFadden-Ferry. Subs., Odhrán Shields for McLaughlin 25, Shane McGrath for N Boyle 38, Brian O’Donnell for Ferry (b card) 40, Gary Molloy (0-1) for JD Boyle 44, Daniel Lyons for McCrea 52.

Galway: Cormac Haslam; Cein Darcy, Seán Mulkerrin, Eoin McFadden; Adam Quirke, Ernán McDonagh, Fionnán Garvey (0-1); Seán Raftery, John Maher; Finian O Laoi, Evan Murphy (0-2, 1f), Ryan Forde; Robert Finnerty (1-5,2f), Desmond Conneely (1-2, 2f), Barry Goldrick (0-1). Subs., Ross Murphy (0-1) for Maher 53.

Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).