Almost there – Jarlath Burns
THERE is no better feeling than when something you have sat down and methodically planned down to the last inch, comes together in a perfect storm of beauty and precision. For posterity, the final scoreline might state that Donegal won by two points, but this is where record and reality part company.
The facts are that Donegal stunned a fancied Cork outfit with a display of intensity and pure football rarely seen in games like this. Winning was not enough for Donegal this season.
They have obviously been stung by the criticism of their style of play last year and have developed confidence in their ability to play to their own strengths as opposed to their opponents’ weaknesses.
This new more expressive method has made it easier for them to win games and provided us with the match of the year last Sunday.
The first half was a particularly solid example of how to play Gaelic football. Donegal only conceded seven frees. A remarkable statistic and demonstrative of their knowledge of how strongly Cork punish fouls anywhere from the halfway line in.
Mickey Harte was in studio with us and listening to his comments during the game would explain why he has delivered three All Irelands for his own team.
Soon into the game he began talking about Donegal’s ability to execute three quarter fouls and he was so right. David Coldrick as a referee lets the game flow and will tolerate a more physical approach than many of his colleagues, so this was perfect for Donegal’s smother tactic.
Most of their dispossessions were ‘three quarter’ fouls, not breaking the rules, but within the jurisdiction that a fussy referee would blow, just to be on the safe side.
Given the fact that they turned Cork over so often in the first half, the tally of seven frees is remarkable and only one scorable free in the whole match. This is one example of how these players do exactly as they are told and stay on task for the entire seventy minutes.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday August 30. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here