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MAC'S VIEW: Donegal might not be too far away

Sunday's All-Ireland final gives us reasons to be cheerful

Brian McEniff

Reporter:

Brian McEniff

Email:

sport@donegaldemocrat.com

MAC'S VIEW: Donegal might not be too far away

I suppose the first conclusion I take from Sunday’s All-Ireland final draw is that from a Donegal point of view, it is a positive one.
Given that we drew with Kerry, it is reasonable to conclude that we are not far away and it gives us good reason to be optimistic about next season.
We also scored 1-20 against the Kingdom while the mighty Dubs, supposedly the greatest team of all time, only managed to score 1-16.

It was an enjoyable game on Sunday with many passages of very good football and some not so good football. There were mistakes and missed passes too.
And the final also had its share of controversy with great drama and excitement and an enthralling finish.
I felt Dublin were a bit below their best and they had all the appearances of a team where all the hype seemed to get to them. Their easy passage to the final I do believe caught up with them.
Kerry down the years haven’t left many All-Ireland titles behind them. They had a great chance on Sunday, but did not push on after going ahead late on.

Dublin manager, Jim Gavin


And I will be very surprised if they don’t live to regret it. I expect Dublin, who definitely were below their best, to win the replay.
Despite not playing well, I thought Dublin had enough possession and chances to win it in the closing the closing minutes.
Indeed, I was surprised how Dublin, who are such an experienced outfit, were not a little more patient. They certainly had enough possession and chances, but they failed to get their shooters on the ball in the closing minutes. They kicked a couple of bad wides in that spell.
With all their experience and coolness I thought they showed signs of panic in those closing minutes.
Croke Park can do that to you, especially when you are looking down the barrel with a place in history slipping away from you.
Kerry were very impressive but it will be of little comfort to them as they ponder the replay on Saturday week.
Overall it was an enjoyable game and contrary to some quarters I thought David Gough had a good game. And as far as I was concerned he got all the big calls right.
The first half Kerry penalty was a close call but the reality is, Johnny Cooper was holding David Clifford and it was a penalty.
The free which led to Cooper’s red card was a marginal call too, but I also felt it was the right call. It was a second yellow card offence and therefore an automatic red. Harsh yes, but rules are rules and they have to be followed.
Cooper was really struggling on Clifford and I was a little surprised Jim Gavin (pictured) hadn’t moved him off the Kerry target man long before the sending off. I wouldn't say it was Gavin’s finest hour and a half or so on the Croke Park sideline.
Kerry's Peter Keane won the tactical battle. He got his match-ups spot on and used his bench well.
The Dublin boss and his players have a chance to redeem themselves on Saturday week. I expect them to do so. Mind you, after Sunday’s below par performance they may have lost their air of invincibility. Only time will tell.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack