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Bonner hits out at authorities after jaded Donegal bow out

Dublin 1-13 Donegal 0-9

By Chris McNulty

Donegal Under-21 manager Declan Bonner took a sideswipe at the Ulster Council's fixture planners after his jaded side were well beaten by Dublin in Saturday's All-Ireland U21 semi-final.

Just five days after defeating Derry to win the Ulster title on Monday night in Armagh, Donegal were back in combat.

However, they looked a pale shadow of the side that scorched its way through Ulster in such scintillating style.

Due to the postponement of their Ulster semi-final against Cavan, Donegal's schedule since had to be wedged into a gruelling 10 days.

"For me we were always that step or two steps behind and the energy we had throughout the Ulster campaign just wasn't there and that's disappointing," Bonner said.

"You talk about player welfare so that there is a crazy situation where we have to play an Ulster final and then an All-Ireland semi-final in five days.

"We were late back on Monday night. We felt the preparation was right but at the back of my mind I had this fear that we might come out flat.

"It was disappointing. We know we are much better than that. But you could see there was definitely a certain amount of flatness to it. It's disappointing because of the work that these boys have put in. We just didn't get to the levels we needed. Overall, it was just really flat and the five-day turnaround was a step to far."

Dublin were fresh having defeated Offaly in the Leinster final two-and-a-half weeks ago - and Bonner vented his frustration at the provincial authorities.

He said: "The other three provinces had their houses in order. Ulster didn't.

"The Ulster Council need to take a good look at themselves. There was no Plan B in place - every other province had a two-week break before the All-Ireland semi-final."

Dublin lost their star turn, Con O'Callaghan, to a black card after just three minutes as his shove on Conor Morrison ended his participation.

O'Callaghan, Tom Fox, Glenn O'Reilly (2) and Aaron Byrne all hit points as Dublin led 0-5 to 0-2 at half-time, with Donegal taking until the 24th minute before Michael Langan broke their duck.

Donegal, through Langan and Niall O'Donnell, narrowed the gap to a point early in the second half, but Dublin saw Byrne and Cian Murphy respond.

When Sean McMahon fired a goal past 'keeper Danny Rodgers the game was up and Chris Sallier swept over soon after as the Dubs booked a final spot.

Dessie Farrell, the Dublin manager, whose mother hails from Glencolmcille in Donegal, sympathised with Bonner's plight.

He said: "Donegal were a little flat coming in to this - their schedule was hectic. They would have wanted to be superhuman for that not to have had an impact, and that probably came against them today."

Scorers:

Donegal: M Carroll (0-1), S McBrearty (0-1), M Langan (0-4, 2f) Subs: N O'Donnell (0-2) for McBrearty (24), E O'Donnell (0-1) for Connor (37).

Dublin: D Byrne (0-1), S McMahon (1-0), C Murphy (0-2); T Fox (0-1); G O'Reilly (0-2), A Byrne (0-4, 1f, 45), C O'Callaghan (0-1, 1f). Subs: C Sallier (0-1) for O'Callaghan (6, black card), A McGowan (0-1) for O'Reilly (47).

Referee: J Bermingham (Cork).

Belfast Telegraph

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