UPSTAIRS IN ARAS Aoidh Ruadh, a huddle of Donegal footballers sipped on tea and watched their team-mates inflict a ten-point drubbing on Cork.
Donegal’s good record at Fr Tierney Park continued with a comfortable win over Cork that might just need the optimism tempered.
It’s two wins from two and Donegal, negative old Donegal, have managed to score five goals and 29 points in their wins over Down and Cork, won by a combined 27 points.
Picture caption: Peter Boyle denies Paul Kerrigan a goal scoring chance during Sunday’s game. Picture by Evan Logan
As Rory Gallagher surveys the view from Division 1’s summit, he’d be forgiven for smiling to himself as he prepares to take his team to Tenerife for a training camp next Sunday.
The likes of Mark McHugh, Darach O’Connor, David Walsh, Michael Boyle and Mark Anthony McGinley were among the Donegal players who watched proceedings from the comforts of the Ballyshannon clubhouse.
Others like Colm McFadden, Karl Lacey, Christy Toye and Martin McElhinney have yet to see League action.[adrotate group=”24″]
“It’s great to have won two,” Gallagher said after a 2-14 to 1-7 win over Cork, with Martin O’Reilly and Odhrán Mac Niallais netting the goals.
“That’s unchartered territory for us over the last few years. It is pleasing to have two wins on the board heading into the break.
“We’re happy now that we’ll get a good bit of physical work done this week and then we’re away to the training camp. The biggest thing is that we’re heading away there in a good frame of mind.
“We’ll have a good chance to work on our fitnes and we’ll have a chance to talk about tactics and it’ll help with the integration too.”
Ciaran Thompson again showed himself to be at home at this level, while Odhrán Mac Niallas scored 1-4 on one of those days when the Gaoth Dobhair man was at his wicked best.
The pace, intelligence and movement of the likes of Ryan McHugh, Eoin McHugh and Martin O’Reilly gives Donegal a devastating string to their attacking bow and Gallagher can be encouraged with how his new players have taken to the step up.
“A lot of them aren’t overly new, the likes of Peter Boyle, Eamonn Doherty, Hugh McFadden and Martin O’Reilly have all been in previously,” the manager pointed out.
“It takes a bit of time and it’s more that they’re maturing now.
“The date that we’re working towards hasn’t changed – June 12 and the winners of the Fermanagh v Antrim game.
“In theory it’s no different now to the McKenna Cup. We’re out looking to win games, but we’re looking to improve aspects of our game and marry that with building the squad and getting the experienced players up to speed.
“A lot of our older lads don’t have an awful lot of work done.”
Colm McFadden will train again on Tuesday night having had a slight set back with a calf injury and the resumption of action at the end of the month against Mayo could see some of those front-line troops back in action.
The manner of their wins has confidence brimming in Donegal, although Gallagher did point out that Cork might have turned the tables during a madcap period in the first half when Donegal allowed them sneak back in.
Gallagher said: “We had played really well. To have a seven-point lead wiped out and the game back in the balance was disappointing. Good teams will do that.
“We rode our luck a wee bit, but I was really pleased with how we finished the first half.
“There was good maturity and some great quality from Odhrán in particular. It was a great position to be in, six points up, after playing into a bit of a breeze.”Tags: