Donegal selector Paul McGonigle conceded this week during an interview with the Inishowen Independent that the performance last Saturday against Armagh was far from great but at the end of the day, they are delighted to get to were they have always wanted to be. “We set out at the start of the season to earn promotion, to win back the Ulster title and have a good run in the All Ireland series and although we can certainly improve on the performance last Saturday we are happy enough as we are exactly were we set out to be with an All Ireland semi final to look forward to,” said the Buncrana club man.
On the performance last weekend, McGonigle believes that there is a lot that can be improved upon. “Don’t get me wrong, there were times in the game when we looked really good, the problem however was that it was only really in fits and starts, we didn’t do it enough during the game and we kicked fifteen wides which is very unlike us,” said McGonigle.
The Donegal selector insists that he wasn’t one bit surprised by what Armagh brought to the table last Saturday. “We knew that Armagh would be physical and that they would be in our face and in fairness to them they made us work extremely hard to get the result. We knew that they would look to disrupt the flow of the game which they did do early on and it did look like those few incidents did disrupt us in a way, although in fairness to our boys I felt they kept their discipline extremely well,” he said.
Talk has now turned to the semi final and a date with All Ireland champions Dublin at the end of the month and McGonigle believes that it will take an exceptionally high level of performance for the full seventy minutes if Donegal are to progress to an All Ireland final. “We stayed on and had a look at Dublin the last day and they look like an exceptionally good side, at the same time however we will look forward to the challenge and over the next few weeks we will be looking at how we will approach the game. There is no doubt that we will need a huge improvement and we will need to perform to our best for the full seventy minutes as Dublin are capable of causing serious problems,” he said.
Donegal have been getting over the line this season without performing to their maximum and McGonigle knows that in Dublin they will be facing a completely different animal to what they have faced already this year. “Dublin have been killing teams off in the second quarter of games this season, just like they did to Monaghan the last day. We will need to bring a higher intensity level and we will need to sustain it for the full game. We will be looking for as close to a complete performance as we can give and concentration levels will be very important,” said McGonigle.