AFTER A BELOW-PAR display against Glenfin in their final group game, St Michael’s looked themselves in the mirror and asked the hard questions.
They’d trounced Cloughaneely and Four Masters, each by ten points, but Glenfin put it up to them in Pairc Taobhoige and there were moments when St Michael’s looked vulnerable.
Kelly has been arguably the player of the Donegal SFC so far and he added to his bow on Sunday when he scored 2-3 in St Michael’s demolition of Malin in the quarter-final.
Post-Glenfin, St Michael’s added Declan Bonner to their sideline armoury and there’s a new-found focus within the men from The Bridge.
“We just copped ourselves on a bit,” says Kelly, who played at minor and under-21 levels for Donegal.
“We didn’t play well against Glenfin. In everyone’s mind we were already through and we probably didn’t go in with a straight mindset.
“We regrouped after that game and we upped the tempo a bit in training. We came in and played well against Malin, but we’ll need to up it again for the semi-final.”
With Colm McFadden operating deep at the control panel, Kelly has flourished playing an inside role.
He’s on song and enjoying his new tasks.
“I played in there two years ago for a wee while,” says Kelly (pictured in action above left).
“I’ve been in and out. I started out at wing-back, but I’ve been gradually finding my way up the field.
“I’m enjoying it in there and I feel as if I’m playing well. Whereever I’m put, I’ll give it 100 per cent. It can’t be any other way when you’ve a squad pushing now like we have.
“Scoring doesn’t really matter as long as we keep winning games.”
St Michael’s were intent not to wobble again and they had Malin out of sight by the 16th minute when Ciaran Gallagher added a second goal to sit alongside Kelly’s opening three-pointer.
Malin had caused the shock of the Championship when they sent Gaoth Dobhair packing – and St Michael’s didn’t want to be the next scalp to sit upon Liam Bradley’s sword.
Kelly said: “Malin are a good side. We knew that we’d have to come out and just blitz them in the first 15 minutes. That’s what we did. We’re happy with the performance so hopefully now we can push on and keep that up.”
Tellingly, St Michael’s didn’t ease the tempo in the second half and they were out of sight by the end of a one-sided affair that fires them into a semi-final clash with St Eunan’s.
Kelly says: “We wanted to put them away again in the first 15 minutes of the second half – the same as we did in the first – and we kept the tempo in our game.
“There was no point in slacking off. There’ll be other games that will be tighter in the last 15 minutes so we were able to look at a few things in the Malin game that will stand to us now going forward.”Tags: