Declan Bonner is proud of what his side achieved on Saturday night in winning the McKenna cup but admits they won’t dwell on the win over Tyrone.
The win came at a good time for Donegal who were on a run of three losses on the trot. Despite the results the squad had put in some strong performances and are very unlucky not to have scored points in the league yet.
Tyrone were going for their seventh McKenna cup success in a row, but in a tight contest Donegal prevailed with a winning margin of four points. Both sides made changes to the starting teams from the last round of league games fielding youthful sides.
The result will be a confidence booster for Donegal who now move on to Sunday’s clash with Kildare in Ballyshannon, a ground that has served the home side well in the past. Declan Bonner and his side now hope to take confidence from last week’s victory and put two points on the board.
The Na Rossa man knows that Donegal will face a tough task but admits last week’s victory gave his side a confidence boost. “Anytime you beat Tyrone is big. We performed well but it was parked up very quickly. Looking forward to Sunday it’s good for confidence, we’ve been unlucky a few times to come out on the wrong side. We know now how important the Kildare match is and that’s where the focus is now,” Bonner said.
Donegal have fielded very young squads in each of their outings so far this campaign. Declan Bonner has managed many of these lads in underage squads over the years but he knows how difficult the step up to senior can be. “There’s no doubting it takes time. It’s not an easy transition, but we’re going off a two or three year plan. They’re all talented footballers and hard workers to go with it. I can’t fault the commitment they’ve shown,” he added.
The county has achieved a lot of success at underage level over the last few years, transforming that into senior level is what the current management team is hoping to accomplish. “The McKenna cup was good for us. It gives us the opportunity to blood new players, it’s especially good for the young lads. They are hungry for football and that’s what you want,” he said.
Bonner will be glad to be given the opportunity to call back on some of the more experienced guard who weren’t available in the earlier league games. “The squad has lost a lot of players through retirement in the past few years. But Michael (Murphy), Neil (McGee), Frank (McGlynn), Martin (McElhinney) and Paddy (McGrath) are all not too far away. It’s a boost to get them back to full fitness. It’ll be nice to call on some of the more established players to add to the youth in the side,” Bonner concluded.
Sunday’s game will be crucially important in Donegal’s chances of staying in division 1 of the league. If the side manage to come away with a win it could be massive for confidence looking forward to the remaining games.