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Donegal boss Jim McGuinness stunned by his men's flat display

By Declan Bogue

Hands-up time from Donegal manager Jim McGuinness.

He never saw this coming. Not only in terms of being tactically matched, physically outworked and when the football broke out, it was all played by the men in white shirts.

"We trained very well in the lead-in to the game and in the games we were playing we were going very well as well," said McGuinness.

"So no, we didn't see that coming in terms of being flat.

"But they got a couple of scores on the board very, very quickly and they got a foothold in the game."

He acknowledged and tipped his hat to worthy winners Monaghan and Malachy O'Rourke when he continued: "They got their tactics working very, very quickly and for us we were finding it very difficult to find space in the game.

"And you wouldn't deny the people and the players of Monaghan that opportunity.

"It's absolutely incredible to be part of a day like this and we were very fortunate over the last two years to experience it.

"And it's up to these people now to experience it and enjoy it."

He added: "We're bitterly disappointed but at the end of the day someone's going to win and someone's going to lose, and Monaghan were the better team at the end of the day."

For now, Donegal will look to emulate Down's feat last season of recovering from an Ulster final defeat by winning in the fourth round of the qualifiers.

Laois lie in wait next Saturday and Donegal still have the not-so-small task of retaining their All-Ireland title.

"We'll try and carry ourselves in a certain manner in defeat and try to move forward as graciously as we can.

"The bottom line is we have six days.

"That's the rules that govern the competition.

"There is no point crying about it," McGuinness added.

Belfast Telegraph


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