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Room for improvement for Donegal

BY FRANK CRAIG

Michael Murphy says there are plenty of positives to take from yesterday’s performance against Fermanagh but warns that showing won’t be good enough to down Tyrone.

The skipper feels the Red Hand outfit have built on their exploits of last season when they reached the All-Ireland decider.
He says things will need to come together quickly ahead of that clash on Saturday week in Cavan. Murphy said: “Tyrone beat us last year in a huge game in our own back yard. They deserved it. We came up short.

“They are a Division 1 side and they’ve improved again from last season when they got to an All-Ireland final.

“There is huge room for improvement. We’re all aware of that. We’ll have to add a little more going into a huge game with Tyrone. We’re going to have to really up it over the next few weeks.”

Donegal found it hard to shake Fermanagh for large spells at the weekend and Murphy admitted it was a frustrating afternoon – particularly in the first- half.

“We always expected it to be close and that’s the way it turned out,” he added.

“It was tit for tat in the first-half and was a bit scrappy.

“We managed to go in with the lead. There was a bit of a breeze then in the second-half and we were able to tag on a few more scores from distance.

“They had to come out a little more and a bit of space opened up. It was a good test. The team hadn’t really played together as a full unit this season.

“A game like that will only help us. Fermanagh were going to always be defensive. We had to bide our time. They went two points up. It took us a little while to get into the game.

“The key was to not panic. We kept at it. Even though we were patient, I still didn’t think we performed as well as we could.

“We’ve played them a few times now and we know they are never out of the game the way they play. You have that two or three point lead and it’s a vulnerable one.
“But towards the end, we did open it out a little more. All in all, it’s a positive to get the win. It was also great to have Patrick McBrearty back out there.”

The prolonged build-up to their Ulster opener meant that Fermanagh has been the focus for Donegal for the best part of seven months. Now, just a fortnight separates them from an eagerly-awaited tangle with their fierce rivals.

But Murphy, just like Paddy McGrath before him, says players much prefer the quick turnaround.

“It was the same last year,” he said. “In other years you were waiting up to four weeks sometimes.

“There is only so much you can do so this one now comes around pretty quickly. But we’re looking forward to it.”

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