DONEGAL SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP COUNTY FINAL REPLAY
GAOTH DOBHAIR V NAOMH CONAILL
Sunday, MacCumhaill Park, 3pm
GAOTH Dobhair manager Mervyn O’Donnell admits that he was surprised that Naomh Conaill were written off ahead of last weekend’s county final.
Gaoth Dobhair were the bookies favourites to win, but O’Donnell said that he knew the game would be close.
And so it was, as the two teams could not be separated at the final whistle.
“Listen, they are a top outfit. The media for some reason had us so far ahead. I didn’t understand that. Martin Regan and a lot of his players are around for a long time.
“There is a reason they’ve been in the final for the last three seasons. They’re hurting so they didn’t give it up easy today and they’ll not give it up easy the next day either.”
The reason why the game was so close came down to their defensive structures. O’Donnell felt that they cancelled each other out.
He explained: “Defences were on top. It was a little bit like the St Eunan’s game. Scores were at a premium there today. Things that usually go your way didn’t.
“There was a lot of tension. No one wanted to lose the ball. That can sometimes happen in a county final. When it’s so tight either way, that’s the way it’ll more often than not play out.”
The Glenties men went in at the midpoint one clear on a scoreline of 0- 5 to 0-4. And when Charles McGuinness booted the first point of the second period just seconds in, it looked like it was going to be Naomh Conaill’s day.
But the Magheragallon men showed their guts and four points on the trot managed to spur them from two down to two clear.
However, Naomh Conaill also displayed admirable determination in the final quarter to haul the champions back and to force another day out.
“To be fair to Glenties, they came out and they took away a lot of the angles in our game plan,” said O’Donnell.
“You have to expect that. They are an experienced outfit with plenty of quality themselves.
“It was up to us to overcome those things. To be honest, I don’t’ think we got ourselves one hundred percent up for that game.
“I didn’t feel it. We’d a wee comment about that in the warm down. You have to be completely at yourself coming into a county final.
“This is what happens when you’re not.”