MICHAEL CANNING WAS quite content to don the mantle of the underdog for yesterday’s Donegal SFC final.
The Glenswilly manager saw his team kick to life at just the right time.
Written off everywhere as also-rans before a ball was kicked in anger yesterday, Glenswilly defeated the fancied Kilcar, who were talked about as possible provincial contenders in recent weeks.
Away from the spotlight since beating Malin in the semi-final two weeks ago, Glenswilly carved out a meticulous game plan and followed it right to the very letter.
“Tactically, they carried out the game plan we set out and that laid the foundations to get the scores,” Canning said afterwards.[adrotate group=”59″]
“It suited us coming in as underdogs. No-one gave us a chance at all.
“We were able to implement the game plan and we did just enough to get over the line.”
Glenswilly have won times in the last six weeks than they had done in the previous six months.
Canning said: “We wanted to peak at this time of year. We didn’t really push them hard at training until the middle of July and we pressed the button then. We knew we had to come good at the back end of the summer. We peaked early last year and it cost us.”
Although the winning of the game was plotted to perfection, the score that won it was Gaelic football in its most simple formula: A long ball from Neil Gallagher into Michael Murphy, who fired home a tenth-minute goal that took Glenswilly to glory.
Canning said: “We knew if the long ball into Michael worked that we would be very dangerous.
“We didn’t maybe use that long ball as much as we should have, but we got in at half-time and had a good talk to the boys.
“A four-point lead was massive. We knew that if we could get ahead of them going down the stretch that we’d have a big chance because of our experience.”
This was Glenswilly’s fifth final in ten years and Dr Maguire was heading for Pairc Naomh Columba for a third time.[adrotate group=”76″]
That big game experience really stood to Glenswilly in a tense finale, when Kilcar rallied to get back to within a point.
Canning said: “Down through the years, people would say that we have a small group, but being able to take Ciaran Bonner and Darren McGinley off the bench was huge.
“The men coming off the bench actually made us stronger. The experience of the likes of Neil Gallagher, Joe Gibbons and Eamonn Ward was vital. Those guys got us over the line.”