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McBrearty basks in the glory of sublime display

By Declan Bogue

Donegal's starlet Paddy McBrearty stands in the hot mid-Ulster sun in the glow of victory over Armagh, explaining moments of athletic genius as if they are as humdrum as forgetting to put out the recycling bin.

And, he said he could feel it from early on Sunday that something special was coming from the group.

"Yeah, I felt the intensity was there. There was a good buzz in the camp there this morning, you knew that things were going to go right," he smiled.

"But it was a very good display, and you really couldn't have lived with us in the first half. We have to be delighted, training was going really well this last three or four weeks and things have shaped out well for us, thankfully."

By this stage, everyone wants to hear about his goal. In the first minute of the game, Martin McElhinney blazed a shot right and wide of the posts. From Matthew McNeice's kickout, Odhrán MacNiallais collected the break, handpassed to Neil Gallagher who hoisted the perfect aerial delivery to the edge of the square.

All alone in splendid isolation were McBrearty and his marker James Morgan. In a flash, the ball was in the net.

"I don't know how long was gone in the game, but mentally it's probably something that crushes the other team, leaking an early goal," says the 21-year old Kilcar student.

"It's not something you work on, getting an early goal. We work on other things but we are delighted to get it."

Donegal know the value of an early goal. It helped them on their way in the 2012 All-Ireland final when Michael Murphy rose above Kevin Keane to fetch a ball in and crash to the net on their way to beating Mayo.

It also harmed them last September when Paul Geaney was left inside on Paddy McGrath and the Kerry man had the ball in the net in the first minute of their All-Ireland final.

Now, it would appear McBrearty is Donegal's chief aerial threat. Without Colm McFadden in the travelling party, it would not have made much of a difference, as he reminds us he spent a good deal of time against Tyrone up there on his own as well.

He might have had another one on nine minutes, after again catching over Morgan's head, but as he explains: "Aye, I slipped! Unfortunately I lost my footing at the wrong time, but these things happen, I just have to live with it."

McBrearty would go on to register a thumping point on 27 minutes when he fastened onto a brilliant Michael Murphy kickpass to turn and shoot from 45 yards.

However, it was in going for his third score of the day that his activities ended. He tried a shot for goal that fell short and immediately signalled to the sideline.

"I picked up a wee bit of an injury with the hamstring in the second half and had to come off. That was frustrating," he explained.

"I have to get back at it tonight and tomorrow and try to get it right for the thirteen day window against Derry."

Donegal manager Rory Gallagher cursed the Gods when McBrearty's shot fell short, prompting McBrearty to quip: "He gave me a bit of a chewing on the line.

"I will have to talk to him personally about that!"

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph