Donegal eased into their fourth consecutive Ulster final with a comfortable win over Antrim last Sunday. The other Ulster semi final will take place this Sunday between Monaghan and Armagh. It is difficult to see Armagh winning this game since they are short three of their main players who were suspended after the pre match fracas in their last game against Cavan.
Donegal were always going to be in a no win situation against Antrim. If we had lost then it would have been a shock and if we won then we have won by a bigger margin. In the final analysis Donegal did what they had to do to secure their berth in the Ulster final.
I’m sure that the neutrals out there thought it wasn’t much of a game but as a totally biased commentator I was very impressed with our performance in the second half. It is been stated by many that Donegal does not have strength in depth. I believe these doubters were once again proved wrong. Two of Donegal’s more experienced players had to pull out late in the day and two relative newcomers to the championship scene replaced them. Both played pivots roles in securing victory for us. This was the most pleasing aspect of Donegal’s victory. The young recruits played with flair and without fear.
Antrim were able to stifle Donegal for 35 minutes but games are not won in the first half. Preparations for the next game for any team begin immediately after the final whistle is blown in a current game. Donegal is no different. Whether it is Armagh or Monaghan, the pain for Donegal from losing last year’s Ulster final is tangible. Yes it is great to be back in another final but Donegal will be so eager to succeed this time around. We have a great set of lads who are so committed to their county.
I feel that Donegal came in for a lot of unfair criticism after exiting the All-Ireland series last year and again after the defeat to Monaghan in the League final. The band wagon is up and running again and as they say “eaten apples are soon forgotten”. That is the nature of our fickle thinking. It is easy to row in behind a winner but when things are not so good it is also easy to ignore and condemn a loser. We want to be associated with winners. We all want part of the action. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it always will be.
Donegal haven’t won anything yet so let’s not get carried away. I will be washing my Donegal flag this week and nailing it well out of reach from the person whole stole my flag in 2012 just after the Ulster final. By the way I live only miles from the Tyrone border!
The soccer World Cup is well in progress right now and poor England exited the competition after two disappointing defeats. The English Premiership will resume again in August and the very people who so passionately support these teams in this country were so unsympathetic to our neighbours when England failed to qualify for the next stage of the competition. The basic truth is that England is technically not good enough and their players are paid immoral wages. Period.
On a personal note I want to mention a small bit about faith. I attended a funeral recently of a young woman who lost her fight against cancer. Death is there to remind us of how fickle our lives really are. On her Face book page this lady asked for “prayer warriors” after she had been diagnosed with the disease. I know that there are many people out there with terminal illnesses. None know when we will draw our last breath. There is one thing for certain, that time will come. We tend to worry about little things and let these little things annoy us. I found a little piece of advice from Mother Teresa of Calcutta which you may apply to your daily lives.
‘People are often unreasonable. Illogical and self-centred;
Forgive Them Anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be Honest and Frank Anyway.
What you spend years building; someone could destroy it overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be Happy Anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do Good Anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give The World The Best You’ve Got Anyway.
You see in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It Was Never Between You And Them Anyway.’