Peter Campbell email@example.com @dgldemocrat
“There was one time there that I sat back, in the second half, and just let them at it.
“It’s good enough, it saves the legs. I suppose me and Paddy (McGrath) just sat back and let the young fellas at it.” That was the reaction of veteran full-back, Neil McGee, as he watches the young talent of Donegal strut their stuff against Cavan on Saturday night in Kingspan Breffni Park.
McGee is as competitive as ever and is now central to the transition which is taking place in the county senior set-up.
On Saturday night, that transition continued with Donegal comfortable winners over the Breffni men, but it was the second half before they took full control.
“We wanted to get a good start and we should probably have been more up than we were. In the first 20 minutes we were in control; we controlled their kick out and we kinda switched off and let them back into it,” said McGee, speaking about the game.
“They got a couple of soft frees and that tends to happen when you are on top of a team. Listen, we were disappointed at half-time only two points up. We should probably have been double scores.
“But once we got the goal, it just killed the game. They just sat back and we kept the ball. It mightn’t have pretty to watch, but you just have to do it. There’s no point in running into trouble and let them break. We just kept the ball and run the clock down and picked off the scores. There were some nice scores there.”
The Gaoth Dobhair All-Star is really impressed with the new blood but is not surprised by the impression they have made.
“There is no way they are out of their depth. After we made a couple of tweaks after the Kerry game, we just tightened up the defence a wee bit. That was the big thing. Obviously last week we didn’t score enough. We felt Dublin were there for the taking and we were disappointed on the draw.
“We worked this week on getting more scores and 1-16 is not a bad return against a defensive team.
“We have two more defensive teams coming up now (Tyrone and Monaghan) so they will be two crucial games. On the other side of those games we will know more about ourselves,” said McGee.
“Tyrone will be hell bent on breaking the record (in MacCumhaill Park). There is good rivalry there over the years with Tyrone and Monaghan and that’s a good thing. We will need to lift it again from today (against Cavan) for those games.
“Any space they got there today, you won’t get that space the next couple of games. And it’s going to be the same in the Ulster championship. But look, they are well up for it. They are all good footballers and they’re learning very quick; that’s one thing about them. They are taking on information every week and they are improving week on week. It’s invaluable getting Division One games,” said McGee.
As for his own game, McGee is as enthusiastic as ever. “I’m training hard and enjoying it. I’m building for the summer and managing the body well.”
Looking at the overall position of Donegal in Division One, McGee feels they are in a good place and are now in control of their own destiny.
“It’s not only the control. You can sit back and taper your training a bit. You want to play games. If we could pick another two points it would make it safe.
“I suppose the target is now for a league final. That definitely is a target. We never spoke about relegation once. It was always a target of getting to the league final.
“After three or four games in the league you always find out where you are then and we will be hell bent now on getting to the league final,” he said.
He also pointed out that the U-21s have their championship starting next week.
“The U-21s have a tough game now (against Tyrone) but they are managing them well between the two managers. We are in a good position with the talent coming through. And a lot of boys who aren’t there yet that still have to come into the team.
“And then we’re missing our best forward for the last two games (Patrick McBrearty). It is always a bonus for to have him coming back in,” said McGee.