DONEGAL GAA - ULSTER SEMI-FINAL

No medals given out on Sunday - Donegal manager Declan Bonner

Donegal boss happy with performance against Down

Tom Comack

Reporter:

Tom Comack

No medals given out on Sunday - Donegal manager Declan Bonner

Donegal manager Declan Bonner

Donegal manager, Declan Bonner, was pleased with another good performance and win for Donegal following Sunday’s thirteen point Ulster semi-final win over Down in Clones.

However, as good and all as the performance was, the Donegal boss insisted it was only an Ulster semi-final and there was no silverware handed out afterwards.

“Yeah, it's an Ulster semi-final, there is nothing handed out, so we will just got ready for the match in two weeks' time and the challenge that Fermanagh is going to bring,” said the Donegal boos.

“I’m  delighted with today. We worked hard. The only disappointment is the Neil McGee red card,” added the Bonner, who also went on to say he did not see the incident which led to the three time All-Star receive his marching orders from referee Anthony Nolan.

“The linesman picked it up so we will have to see it later on. The allegation is that he put his two knees in.  I didn't see it to be quite honest so we will just have to wait and see.

“We will be looking at video before we make any decision and before appealing it.

“Listen, Neil is an experienced player and is great within the squad. He has achieved so much and it would be a huge disappointment for him to miss out on an Ulster final, but listen, we will look at it, analyse it and take it from there.”   

Donegal got off to a lightning start and had 1-8 on the board before Down opened their account.

“Yeah, we started well, no doubt we did. We got scores on the board and the threat was coming from all over the park and the lads are playing with that bit of freedom.

“You would have to say that Down didn't put the challenge to us. From our point of view, we can only look after ourselves and what is put in front of us and I thought we did adapt and had ten different scorers from all over the park.”

Fermanagh, managed by Rory Gallagher, await Donegal in the final following their surprise win in the other semi-final in Omagh seven days earlier.

Fermanagh claimed a dramatic late win thanks to a last gasp Eoin Donnelly goal. Fermanagh won 1-8 to Monaghan’s 0-10.

"Seven days ago Monaghan were highly fancied and hot favourites to win Ulster.

“I was at the Monaghan, Tyrone game in which Monaghan were absolutely superb  and Fermanagh came out last Sunday and did the job.

“They were well set up and knocked the favourites out of Ulster. We know it is a big test ahead for us and we know it will be a difficult task.

But we have two weeks to get ready for that challenge and we have a lot of work to get done. We know that and it starts right now.

“It is going to be a different test and we have got to change and got to adopt and that is what we speak about all along.

“We know it is going to be a new test. We've won the first three matches, Cavan, Derry and Down today but there is no silverware handed out; we have to come back in two weeks time and try and win the Anglo Celt Cup.”

Donegal have scored 6-58 points in their three games todate. They chalked up 2-20 in their eight point win over Cavan in the preliminary round in Ballybofey. They followed that win up with a 2-16 to 0-16 quarter-final win over Derry in Celtic Park and on Sunday they had 13 points to spare at the end of their 2-22 to 1-12 win over Down.

“You play what is in front of you. You go out and do a professional job and the lads have done that and we just get ready now for Sunday week.

“But we will be tested against Fermanagh and we are going to have to look at different avenues in terms of getting scores.

“Fermanagh will set up defensively; they did so last week and stifled a very potent Monaghan team. We have a very big two weeks ahead of us.”

Ryan McHugh was one of the stars of Donegal’s victory over the Mournemen. But the Kilcar club man was marked and seemed to come in for special attention from the Down rearguard and was constantly fouled and also took a number of high challenges.

“Sometimes I be looking at linesmen and they pick up on x, y and z and I'm looking at Michael Murphy and Ryan McHugh being pulled and dragged off the ball and they don't do anything.

“There were a number of high challenges on Ryan today. He is targeted in every game and he is going to be  and it is a concern and he has to be protected.

“Ryan is made of tough stuff but he does need protection.”

The manager also acknowledged  the younger of the McHugh brothers contribution to the game and said he was delighted with his return to form in recent weeks.  

“Ryan missed five or six weeks – maybe even more – and we got him back in and he's been really good.

“His attitude is top class as well as does all the squad and that's what it's about. It's about the squad and the lads are working extremely hard.”

Odhran Mac Niallais was named on programme but didn’t start and was introduced in the second half.

“He's a quality player. He had a job to do when he came in and he knew that and he's just back training again. He's another player who missed a number of weeks due to injury and that's what we need, competition for places.”