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Bonner assembling a squad that can be dark horses for title

 

By Declan Bogue

It's surprising how business-like Declan Bonner looks in the aftermath of a Championship game.

Still fit and strong looking, the man from the Rosses looks like his mind lies on higher things, such as provincial honours. And maybe, despite relegation and the odd player defection here and there, they are in a position to deliver that.

Cavan were dispatched with plenty left in the tank. Donegal now have to go to Derry and should they get past that game, which should be harder than this, they then are on course to meet the winners of Armagh and Fermanagh. An Ulster final is highly likely.

"It's probably not similar to an Ulster Championship match," said Bonner about the open nature of the contest, 2-20 not being your typical winning score in an Ulster game.

"But, in fairness to Cavan, they came to play football. They were without one or two key players, but look we had a job to do and we went out and did it."

And if they had have been even more ruthless, the scoreline could have been embarrassing for Cavan, such was the amount of goal chances they passed up.

"We maybe created four or five goal chances, we took two. On another day, in a tighter match, you're going to have to take those chances and that's another area we're going to have to work on," continued Bonner.

"But we're pleased to get over the line today and it's nice to start the Championship with a victory here in MacCumhaill Park."

He added: "We've a good record here in MacCumhaill Park and we want to keep that. There was a nice crowd here, a good day for Championship football and at times we did play really good football, but other things we have to improve.

"We'll go back and reassess where we're at and then we're ready for Derry in two weeks time."

He admitted that Paddy McGrath and Odhran MacNiallais had missed the last couple of weeks' training, along with Marty O'Reilly, but wasn't prepared to divulge the nature of the injuries.

His opposite number wasn't for throwing in the towel for the rest of the summer. Mattie McGleenan believes that winning summer games has to be a priority for this side, who looked strangely lacking in confidence.

"We will take a lot of learnings from this and go back to the drawing board," he stated.

"The big thing in this point in time is this time last year we went into the back door, our performances dropped off. That can't happen now. It will be a huge test of this football team -can we take the learning of today and go into the back door and our season isn't finished.

"That's the huge challenge that we have as a team going forward."

A run to the Super 8s, and three big games there, is the least they can aspire to.

Belfast Telegraph

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