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Donegal can beat Dublin, says Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney

Donegal 1-22 Armagh 0-13

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Early strike: Peadar Mogan scores Donegal’s goal despite the efforts of Armagh’s Ryan Kennedy

Early strike: Peadar Mogan scores Donegal’s goal despite the efforts of Armagh’s Ryan Kennedy

�INPHO

Armagh’s Paddy Burns

Armagh’s Paddy Burns

�INPHO/James Crombie

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Early strike: Peadar Mogan scores Donegal’s goal despite the efforts of Armagh’s Ryan Kennedy

Donegal manager Declan Bonner is a man who greets reporters' dictaphones with a healthy degree of suspicion, gets the soundbites out of the way and moves on.

The main motivation, it would seem, is to downplay chat that they might be the best-placed county to take on Dublin. First though, he has an Ulster final to take care of.

"We have picked up a few injuries, I am not sure the extent of those injuries, I have to wait to get back into the dressing room but I would be a bit worried going into the Ulster final," said Bonner.

Stephen McMenamin, the go-to man-marker, especially in light of Odhran McFadden-Ferry's absence, appeared to have hurt his hamstring in the first play of the game and had to be brought off.

"It doesn't look good for him to be quite honest. And with the short turnaround now it is going to be quite difficult to see him ready for next week," Bonner added.

"It was a good all-round performance from the whole group and I am delighted with that to be honest. We still have a bit to do, we go back in this evening, back in tomorrow and we will get watching the Cavan-Down game and get ready for the Ulster final next week."

On the 10th minute, a Stefan Campbell shot fell short and Donegal turned that into a Jamie Brennan point. That began a run of eight consecutive scores that had the game out of Armagh's reach even before the half hour mark.

Worse was to befall the Orchard men when Peader Mogan scooped up a ball that broke off an aerial challenge between Michael Murphy and Aidan Forker and dashed to the goal before hammering it past Blaine Hughes. Game over at half-time, Donegal 1-12 to 0-3 up.

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney presided over a hammering, really, but turned his attention on the players afterwards.

"From our point of view we had a decent year and the first time this year we were very, very timid. Very meek. Didn't have a go at them. Standing still, so loing the ball. Disappointing stuff," said the 2002 All-Ireland winning captain.

"It is not what we train to do. So it is very hard to watch.

"You don't mind sometimes, in the past we would have had teams that didn't have the capabilities to go at teams but we do at the minute and that is probably the most disappointing part."

Now that he is able to speak freely, he would see Donegal as capable of going all the way.

"It's definitely possible," he said.

"I watched them against Dublin in the league and they definitely have that. You know yourself, the Championship takes funny twists and turns and you don't know what is ahead for anybody."

Bonner made the point that he would love to see fans attend the Ulster final.

"I would love it. To see a packed stadium here and a packed stadium next week," he enthused. "We are in a really privileged position that we can go out and play football and represent our county. It has brought a smile to people."

DONEGAL: S Patton; S McMenamin, N McGee, EB Gallagher 0-1; R McHugh 0-2, P Brennan, P Mogan 1-2; H McFadden 0-1m, C McGonigle 0-2, 1m; C Thompson 0-2, 1f, N O'Donnell 0-2, 1m, M Langan 0-3; E McHugh, M Murphy 0-2f, J Brennan 0-2

Subs: J McKelvey for McMenamin (3m), A McClean 0-1, for P Brennan (44m), P McBrearty 0-1, for J Brennan (50m), J McGee for McFadden (52m), O Gallen 0-1 for E McHugh (59m)

ARMAGH: B Hughes; P Burns, R Kennedy, J Morgan; C O'Neill, A Forker, M Shields; O O'Neill 0-1, S Sheridan; R Grugan, G McCabe, S Campbell; J Clarke 0-2, R O'Neill 0-7, 6f, 1'45', J Óg Burns

Subs: N Grimley for Sheridan (30m), J Hall for C O'Neill, A Murnin for JÓg Burns (HT), E Rafferty for Murnin (47m), C Turbitt 0-2, 1m, for Grugan (52m)

Referee: David Coldrick (Meath).

Belfast Telegraph


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