National Football League Division One
Donegal v Galway
Sunday, Letterkenny, 2pm
Jamie Brennan has admitted that he was surprised initially at the standard of football being played at the top tier.
Ahead of Donegal’s clash with Galway this weekend, Jamie addressed the relief that Donegal are feeling after getting their win over Meath. He also predicted a difficult game against the Tribe on Sunday.
But he also suggested that he has noticed a marked difference in standard between division one football and division two of last year.
“There is a good bit of difference, intensity wise. In Division 2, you might have that extra second or two to make a decision.
“I remember when I came into the team, I was playing against top opposition and it gives you a wee bit of a shock wondering if you’re able to play at this level at all.”
Their next opponents are Galway who have had two solid performances so far.
They beat Monaghan in round one, and were probably aggrieved to lose to Kerry last weekend as the Kingdom won late in the day.
“[Galway] will be champing at the bit to get after us so hopefully we will get the bodies right this week and really get a performance.”
“They have some serious pace with the likes of Eamonn Brannigan and finishers with Rob Finnerty.
“Our hands will be fairly full in the defence. It’s just about minimising their contribution, and trying to press on.
“I’d say it will be a tight affair. Padraic has re-energised that Galway panel and it will be a good test.”
One of things to note about Donegal this year is how they are managing their newer players.
Declan Bonner has been keen to mix the veterans with the newer lads.
“We have youth and experience there now and we’re blending it nicely.
“You have the likes of Michael (Murphy), Ryan (McHugh) and Eoghan ‘Ban’ and we can mix that nicely with Peadar (Mogan), and Conor O’Donnell who has been a real good find this year.
“I know he has only played three or four games but he has been really solid.”
What Brennan also noticed is that the manager has been ruthless with his selections.
“It’s completely on form and he doesn’t make any promises to anyone.
“It doesn’t matter if you are experienced or not. He will make the decision to drop you if he has to.
“I think that’s the attitude that you need if you want to play at the top table.”
Based on his performances so far, Brennan should be confident. He’s been a real threat in the forward line, and he’ll be out to do a job on Sunday. Last weekend he managed to score 0-2 from play.
The key for him were the three majors, scored by Odhran McFadden Ferry, Michael Langan and Michael Murphy.
“I think the goals were really the crucial scores in that game.
“We were playing against a really tough breeze in the first half and it just set things up nicely.
“Ryan did very well with that hand pass dummy for the third and that just ended the game as a contest from there on.”
He did point out that Meath’s defensive structure was good, but explained how Donegal dealt with it.
“They did have a lot of men back but the movement inside sort of changed the dynamic of it.
“Things started to open up a bit and it worked out nicely for Odhran (McFadden-Ferry) and his finish.
“They were on the back foot after that and were trying to press on.
“That left gaps at the back, and thankfully we were able to punish that.
“You have to punish the chances that come up about. Last week (against Mayo) we didn’t create many, and we didn’t take any.
“So it was nice to be back among the goals (against Meath) and threaten the goalkeeper.”