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BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: A big win for Donegal but lessons to be learned from the game

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BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: A big win for Donegal but lessons to be learned from the game

A great result and a great day but also a very sad day with the tragic death of Manus Kelly, the rally driver.

I didn’t know Manus, but I remember him from his football playing days and playing underage with Glenswilly.

It is very sad, and news of his death put a real damper on the whole day in Clones when the word began to emerge.

My sympathies to his wife Bernie and the Kelly family and the Glenswilly GAA club on their loss.

Donegal put in another top class performance and were way better than Cavan. The mystery is they only won by five points because they were so much better than Cavan.

Again as against Tyrone, we played our best football in the first half but as we also did against Tyrone we got sloppy in the second half and allowed Cavan back into the game to an extent.

Once again it was a good team performance and you have to hand it to Declan Bonner and his management team. They had their homework done on Cavan and they got their tactics and matchups spot on and all Cavan’s big players were well held.

In fact, Cavan were disappointing.

We were eight points up at half-time and the reality is we should have been further ahead.

While it was a good team performance I also thought we had a number of standout performers.

Shaun Patton was brilliant and his kickouts were special. I think he had only one wayward one in the entire game.

Ryan McHugh and Eoghan Bán Gallagher were outstanding in defence, Hugh McFadden and Jason McGee had fine games in the middle of the field

Our own Jamie Brennan here in Bundoran turned in another big performance and scored 1-4 while Michael Murphy was his usual Michael Murphy, brilliant. He scored 0-4 and Patrick McBrearty kicked a few trademark Mc Brearty points.

The full-forward line between them scored 1-13 out of the 1-24 which is a fair return by any standard.

Michael Murphy is a great leader of men and at half-time it was interesting to see him chat separately with both the forwards and the backs.

The only disappointing thing about the performance was how we got a bit sloppy in the second half and allowed Cavan back into the game.

It is the one big thing we have to learn from the last two games. We will not be able to take the foot off the pedal against the bigger teams.

We are through now to the Super 8s and the only opposition we know at this stage is Kerry, the Munster champions. That is the middle game in Croke Park. We are at home to Meath or the team they play in the Qualifiers, in the first round game in Ballybofey.

The competition is going to get stiffer from now on because the reality is we breezed through Ulster.

Again a big well done to Declan Bonner and all the boys in winning back-to-back Ulster titles and five in nine seasons is a brilliant achievement.

Commiserations to the Donegal minors who lost to Monaghan in the Ulster semi-final in Brewster Park on Friday night.

Finally best of luck to Maxi Curran and the Donegal ladies in next Sunday’s Ulster Ladies senior final in Clones. They play Armagh and hopefully the can complete the three in-a-row.

Also the best of luck to Gary McDaid and the Donegal U-20s who are in championship action

when they take on Fermanagh in Brewster Park on Friday evening.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack