Ronan McNamee of Tyrone gets close to Patrick McBrearty during Sunday's game.
Living so close to the Donegal border, Aghyaran’s Ronan McNamee knew only too well the kind of test which Tyrone faced on Sunday.
The full-back said his team’s game-plan worked perfectly, although he did seem surprised by how one-sided the semi-final turned out to be.
“We knew it was going to be tight and that Donegal wouldn’t give much away the first ten or 15 minutes,” he said.
“We knew if we stuck at it and stuck to the task we were given, we wouldn’t be far away. Thank God we got a couple of scores to push on at the end of the first half.
“We got a good start to the second half with the goal and it give us a nice wee cushion. You tend to take the foot off the gas a wee bit and maybe become a wee bit too reserved but we’re just delighted to get the win and get back into an Ulster Final.”
McNamee, who won a Donegal League First Division title with Cappry Rovers earlier this year, said he didn’t mind that the game turned out to be a poor spectacle.
“We knew Donegal would be set up pretty much the same as ourselves and whether it was pretty or not, it’s all about getting the win,” he said.
Asked about the goal opportunity that came the way of Donegal’s Eoin McHugh in the first half, McNamee said it was a big moment.
“Their goal chance came from a long kick out,” he said.
“We were caught out a bit but it just opened up. He could have had a bit more time to square it to somebody but he went himself and put it wide.
“We had a chance maybe a couple of minutes beforehand. Nothing is given too easy and to get goal chances, we need to be taking ours. We scored one but we had two or three others. If we had nailed them, obviously it would be a different story. If they had got theirs early too, it could have been a different story.”
As it was, Tyrone went in at half time leading by seven points, 0-12 to 0-5. Amazingly they had nine different scorers in that first half and all but one of their 12 points came from play. Even some of his fellow defenders chipped in with some wonderful points.
“They are defenders here, but most of them are outfield players for their clubs and they are capable of kicking points from anywhere on the field,” he said.
“You have a number on your back but it doesn’t necessarily tell the full tale.”
Tyrone can now focus on defending their Provincial crown on Ulster Final day against either Monaghan or Down in the final.
“It’s always nice to get back in there, but it’s only a half a job done yet,” McNamee pointed out.