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Donegal can kick on after ending Tyrone's McKenna Cup domination: Bonner

 

By Declan Bogue

Donegal manager Declan Bonner picked up his first trophy in the second coming of his senior management career, and put another medal in the pocket of the troupe that have come up along with him through the ranks.

How he did it was to go man for man and tear into Tyrone. It was as if an amnesty on tactics was declared for one night only, and the prize of a cup was seen as less desirable than crucial league points.

"Both teams went at it, and that's the way you like to see Gaelic football played," stated the man from the Rosses, before chuckling to himself; "It doesn't always happen like that.

"We know it's going to be a different story in a couple of weeks when there are league points at stake, but we'll take today, move on, and get ready for Kildare."

Still, it will be a handy confidence-booster all the same as he convinces his players they are worthy in this company as Tyrone target three consecutive Ulster titles later in the year.

"We'll build on it, but we're not going to get carried away, we're back to work [on Sunday] we'll train and get ready for a vitally important home match against Kildare," added Bonner.

"We did say at the start of the campaign that it wasn't going to be the end of the world if we did go down - but we still want to be there. We still want to be competitive in division one, it's a competitive place to be, and hopefully this win in the McKenna Cup will give the lads a lift and we'll drive on."

Mickey Harte was hardly deflated by the defeat really, but dug up a hurt that he may feel should leave some skin in the game for his players in a fortnight's time.

"There's not much you can say. They came after this cup tonight and they have it and it is away to Donegal now. We had it for some time, and that's what happens in a final," he pointed out.

"We were chasing the game for some time. I think the big thing was when we got back level in the second half, we needed the next big score, we needed to get ahead, and they were quite capable of picking off scores at that stage.

"Some of those scores, the players excelled on the night. I think Odhran MacNiallais had a huge influence on the game and then when you have Michael Murphy to come off the bench and kick a few scores as well it's very handy."

A lack of composure cost Tyrone, with Cathal McShane being blocked down twice and Matthew Donnelly once as they needed scores. Harte said: "Well, I suppose across the game that happened. That's not always bad play, it's something to do with the pressure of the opposition. That's the name of the game.

"We had a number of block downs there in the second half which again if they were quicker at pulling the trigger they would have had at least a point or maybe a goal."

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