Donegal team manager, Rory Gallagher, admitted that he expected a much closer contest from Armagh in Sunday’s quarter final.
The foundations for the nine-point victory were built on a solid team display from his side, especially in the first half, and he said he was elated to come away from the Athletic Grounds with such an impressive win.
“There was probably more in it at the end than we had expected,” he said. “We started the game really well and it ploughed on after that.”
Responding to the suggestion that the Donegal game-plan worked a treat in the early stages, Gallagher said: “I don’t know about a game plan. We have good players and they played well. They got up to the speed of it at the start, and obviously the goal gave us a great start.”
That goal, scored by Patrick McBrearty, put the visitors on their way to an emphatic win. The manager said he was delighted with McBrearty’s overall contribution before he was forced off because of injury well into the second half.
“I know Patrick really well,” he said. “What I am delighted about is that he worked so hard. It’s not just this year, he has been doing it since I first got to know him seven or eight years ago.”
Much was made of the fact that Armagh seemed quite slow to do anything to counteract the threat of McBrearty in the opening stages. Gallagher, however, didn’t want to be drawn on Armagh’s defensive system.
“I didn’t really overly observe what they were doing to be honest with you,” he said. “Patrick got away for the goal chance and he put it away.”
Another Donegal player who came into his own was Michael Murphy and his manager was delighted with his performance.
“He’s a great player. He just has to go out and do his job for the team every week and thankfully he has no problem doing that,” he said.
“He nailed a couple of long frees which was very pleasing, but look, he puts a lot of effort into his game and it’s good to see the fruition of it there today.”
Asked about the Armagh performance, Gallagher said he expected a closer contest.
“I always expect a lot from Armagh,” he said.
“But sometimes when a team gets a good start in a game, things can run against the oppostion and that’s what happened. But we can only concern ourselves with ourselves.”
One man who should be available in time for Saturday week’s semi final with Derry is Colm McFadden. The St. Michael’s man missed out yesterday because of a virus, but his manager said the forward should be okay.
“Colm has a wee virus, he picked it up earlier in the week and we were holding out hope, even up until Friday that he’d be okay.
“But we’re expecting him to be back in action on Thursday or Friday. He’s getting better.”