Performance of MacNiallais one of the plus points for Donegal

Performance of MacNiallais one of the plus points for Donegal

O'Donnell Park in Letterkenny is fast becoming a favourite ground for Odhran MacNiallais.

Two years ago at the same venue, the Gaoth Dobhair man scored 1-3 in the league against Monaghan as Jim McGuinness's team got revenge for their 2013 Ulster Final defeat.

MacNiallais equalled that yesterday - hitting a brilliant six points, three from play.

In the end, his and Donegal's efforts fell short. And in fairness, MacNiallais was happy to deflect whatever praise came his way afterwards.

He suggested that the result, rather than his own performance, was much more important.

“I got a few scores in the first half but I didn't get any from play in the second half,” he said.

“Obviously getting the few scores helps. But when they don't help you to win the game, it's no good.”

Bounce back

The 23-year-old suggested that Donegal have an immediate chance to bounce back against Fermanagh on Wednesday night.

The game, he added, will also give some of the new faces in the squad another chance to show their capabilities.

“We've another game on Wednesday night now and it's a chance to push on and get another two points hopefully,” he said.

“It's a chance for us to get into the next round of the McKenna Cup with a win.

“There is plenty of football to be played yet and there are a lot of boys out there who are playing their first games for Donegal

“It's a learning curve for them and for us as well to play along with them.

“Obviously there's going to be pressure on them to perform as well. It's tough for them. They've done very well in the last two games and they've another chance to prove themselves on Wednesday night.”

It's not that long ago that MacNiallais was one of the new kids on the block in the senior panel. So he's well aware of the kind of pressure the younger players will be feeling just now.

“There's always pressure on you when you are playing for Donegal,” he said.

“It's a team that has done so well in the last few years so there's always pressure on you. Even the older guys like Neil McGee and Michael Murphy, there's pressure on them today coming in there in the second half.”

So as preparations for the start of the league campaign continue, MacNiallais says he's enjoying his football and feeling the benefits of a good start to his pre-season.

“Training is going well,” he said.

“Over the last few years, I was struggling with injuries in pre-season. But I've had a clean run at it this year.

“ I haven't missed much training this year. I'm feeling good and feeling fit so long may that continue over the next few months.”