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Bonner thrilled to join exclusive club during his second reign, while Gallagher rues frustrating day


Glory boys: Donegal’s Patrick McBrearty with Michael Murphy

Glory boys: Donegal’s Patrick McBrearty with Michael Murphy

Difficult task: Rory Gallagher felt his Ernesiders faced an uphill struggle

Difficult task: Rory Gallagher felt his Ernesiders faced an uphill struggle


Glory boys: Donegal’s Patrick McBrearty with Michael Murphy

In his second coming as manager, Donegal's Declan Bonner is exactly where he wants to be and where he never reached the first time round - in the winner's enclosure at Clones on a hot summer's day.

"Making the Super-8s and winning the Ulster title is great," he said after a one-sided Ulster final where Fermanagh just couldn't bridge enough gaps to make it an even contest.

"We don't win them (Ulster titles) that often. I think that's nine in total, and we've lost a lot more than that.

"And in fairness to the lads, I thought the performance they put on was top class. I'm just absolutely delighted for everyone involved, because no one really knows the effort and commitment that goes on between players and managers. It's terrific for all those people involved."

He becomes only the third Donegal manager to deliver an Ulster title - Jim McGuinness brought them to three and Brian McEniff was player/boss in 1972 and 1974, and manager on three other occasions.

"Yeah, but it's not about Declan Bonner," he said when that fact was put to him. "Twenty years ago, I was in here as a beaten manager. To come back here with this bunch of players is absolutely terrific.

"You're only as good as your last game and we have to move on and these guys have to get better and go to the next level now. It's a work in progress but we still have a long way to go to become the finished article."

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Bonner added that Patrick McBrearty was withdrawn with a dead leg, which will be assessed by the medical team in the coming days.

His opposite number Rory Gallagher was straightforward in his assessment, stating: "It was a tough day at the office. We started reasonably well and turned them over a few times and it was nip and tuck but the two big moments were from Ryan McHugh's involvement.

"It was his ball that set up the first goal and then he rattled in the second goal. We knew it would be very, very difficult after that.

"Against the likes of Donegal and Monaghan, teams who are playing at a higher level than us, you have to give yourself a really good chance of winning."

Still, promotion to Division Two and a rare Ulster final appearance isn't a bad return - it's certainly one he would have settled for at the start of the year when setting out their goals.

"Anybody in Fermanagh would have taken that. In the semi-finals we always felt we had a great chance of beating Monaghan," he said.

"The hope was to be nip and tuck at half-time here or maybe slightly ahead. That wasn't the case and it was going to be difficult for us. We tried to really, really go at it and we changed our tactics in the kickouts.

"We had some success but in order to do that we needed a score at the start of the second half. We put in a few high balls and nothing came."

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